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Handbook > Trust, Fairness, and Reciprocity > Dictator Game Printer Friendly

Dictator Game

The dictator game is a special modification of any of the bargaining games. First studied by Forsythe et al. [1994], it was designed to control for strategic behavior and to allow for further studying of fairness and its effect on economic decisions. It is important to stress that the possible strategic interdependence of subject's monetary payoff on both one's own action and others' actions as well allows for various interpretations of results that seem to be in contrast with traditional game theoretic predictions for self-regarding preferences. In this sense, the dictator games offer "clear" results, free of the strategic confound. The dictator games can also be used in a triadic (three-games) design and depending on the context of a game help to separate the notions of trust, altruism or other-regarding preferences, positive or negative reciprocity, inequality aversion, and fear.

As the name of the Dictator Game suggests, one of the players in the game is a "dictator" and does not have to take into account the other player's move when choosing the optimal strategy because the final allocation of resources depends entirely on his/her decision. The following are dictator controls in different game environments:

Applications of Dictator Controls

  • Dictator Controls for Investment Game
  • Dictator Controls for Moonlighting Game
  • Dictator Controls for Punishment-MUG Game
  • Dictator Controls for Trust Game
  • Dictator Control for Ultimatum Game

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