Altruistic Preferences in the Dictator Game: Replication of Andreoni and Miller (2002) in Japan

  • Jiayi Xue Kobe University
  • Yohsuke Ohtsubo Kobe University


We conducted two replication studies of Andreoni and Miller’s (2002) modified dictator game study, which revealed that participants’ altruistic decisions were consistent with the notion of utility maximization. The two studies (Study 1 with small stake sizes and Study 2 with large stake sizes) included 11 modified dictator games, in which participants allocated a fixed number of tokens between themselves and their recipient. In eight of the 11 games, each token’s value was different for each player. In Study 1 (N = 78), 85% of participants did not violate the generalized axiom of revealed preference (GARP) throughout the 11 games. In Study 2 (N = 58), 81% of participants did not violate GARP. These results suggest that participants’ decisions were largely consistent with utility maximization. Following Andreoni and Miller’s analysis, we classified all participants (except one anomalous case) into the Selfish, Leontief (egalitarian), and Perfect Substitutes (utilitarian) groups. The majority of participants were classified into either the Leontief or Prefect Substitutes groups (i.e., non-selfish groups).

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