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Can't Touch This! Similarity And Willingness to Keep "Dirty Money"

by Johnson, David, Goerg, Sebastian and Rogers, Jonathan

Traditionally, larger than equilibrium allocations by proposers in Dictator Games (gifts) have been explained by aspects of altruism, reciprocity, and fairness. However, this assumes the gift to be mutually desirable to the proposer and responder. Giving may also be driven by a desire of the proposer to rid herself of the gift or to generate obligation on the part of the responder. We examine this by using three sources to generate the endowment in a Dictator Game:(1) undergraduate students, (2) Amazon Mechanical Turk workers, and (3) users of a racially/ethnically charged web forum. This endowment is provided to subjects in a traditional laboratory experiment. We find no significantcant differences in the proposer allocation decisions across the three sources. Rather we find that proposer affect toward the source of the endowment affects the allocation decision. Our results suggest that decision making can be strongly influenced by the provider of income shocks.

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