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More or less money? An experimental study on receiving money

A recent article in Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics, using data from the Norwegian Citizen Panel and the Citizen Lab, finds that a substantial minority in seven experiments with 3,500 participants overall, decided to receive less over more money. This result may compromise the interpretation of many experiments.

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More or less money? An experimental study on receiving money


Is more money better than less? Not always. It depends on the situation. If more money for oneself means less money for a stranger, the majority of participants in dictator games choose less money for themselves. But if they really are alone - and thus, do not have to share with a stranger - will they always choose to receive more money instead of less? Here, I report results from seven experiments where on average, one-third of a total of 3,503 participants chose to receive less money instead of more. In one experiment, the majority chose to receive less money. If participants in experiments prefer getting less money for more money, interpretation of economic experiments becomes potentially compromised. As I used a randomized payment scheme in all experiments, this may raise a reasonable concern about whether the result generalizes to a scheme in which all subjects are paid.


Author: Sigve Tjøtta