Experimental Economics

, Volume 14, Issue 4, pp 583–610

Dictator games: a meta study


DOI: 10.1007/s10683-011-9283-7

Cite this article as:
Engel, C. Exp Econ (2011) 14: 583. doi:10.1007/s10683-011-9283-7


Over the last 25 years, more than a hundred dictator game experiments have been published. This meta study summarises the evidence. Exploiting the fact that most experiments had to fix parameters they did not intend to test, in multiple regression the meta study is able to assess the effect of single manipulations, controlling for a host of alternative explanatory factors. The resulting rich dataset also provides a testbed for comparing alternative specifications of the statistical model for analysing dictator game data. It shows how Tobit models (assuming that dictators would even want to take money) and hurdle models (assuming that the decision to give a positive amount is separate from the choice of amount, conditional on giving) provide additional insights.


Dictator gameMeta-studyMultiple regressionTobitHurdle model

JEL Classification


Supplementary material

10683_2011_9283_MOESM1_ESM.pdf (144 kb)
(PDF 164 KB)

Copyright information

© Economic Science Association 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Max Planck Institute for Research on Collective GoodsBonnGermany