"Self-Image and Moral Balancing - An Experimental Analysis"

Matteo Ploner and Tobias Regner

In our experiment, a dictator game variant, the reported outcome of a die roll determines the endowment (low/high) in a subsequent dictator game. In one treatment the experimenter is present and no cheating is possible, while in another subjects can enter the result of the roll themselves. The aim of this experimental set up is to analyze dynamic aspects of moral behavior. When cheating is possible, substantially more high endowments are claimed. However, transfers of these high-endowed dictators are higher than when cheating is not possible. We also find evidence that manipulations of moral self-image in the experiment conducted in the same session right before ours carry over and affect the dictator transfer. Moral balancing appears to be an important factor in individual decision making.

Self-Image and Moral Balancing - An Experimental Analysis