Conveniently Upset: Avoiding Altruism by Distorting Beliefs About Others
In this paper we present the results from a "corruption game" (a dictator game modified so that the second player can accept a side payment that reduces the overall size of the pie). Dictators (silently) treated to have the possibility of taking a larger proportion of the recipient's tokens, take more of them. They were also more likely to report believing that the recipient would accept a low price in exchange for a side payment; and selected larger numbers as their best guess of the likely proportion of recipients acting "unfairly". The results favor the hypothesis that people avoid altruistic actions by distorting beliefs about others.
We thank Micaela Sviatschi for excellent research assistance. Rafael Di Tella thanks the support of the Canadian Institute for Advanced Research. The views expressed herein are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Bureau of Economic Research.
Rafael Di Tella & Ricardo Perez-Truglia & Andres Babino & Mariano Sigman, 2015. "Conveniently Upset: Avoiding Altruism by Distorting Beliefs about Others' Altruism," American Economic Review, vol 105(11), pages 3416-3442.