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Expected Generosity in One-shot Interactions

Brañas-Garza, Pablo and Rodriguez-Lara, Ismael (2014): Expected Generosity in One-shot Interactions.

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Abstract

What do we expect of others? Do we expect people to be generous? If so, can we attribute this expected generosity to wishful thinking? Are our expectations, to some extent, related to our personal involvement in the outcome or the size of the stakes? This study investigates expectations on generosity by means of a series of controlled experiments. A total of 205 subjects were recruited and their expectations about the dictator's behavior in the dictator game were elicited. Despite differences in the roles, involvement in the game, the degree of social distance or the variation of stakes, the results are conclusive: subjects seldom predict that dictators will behave selfishly, and the majority of subjects expect that dictators will choose the equal split. This, in turn, implies that generous behavior is not only observed in the lab, but also expected by subjects.

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