Encyclopedia of Personality and Individual Differences

Living Edition
| Editors: Virgil Zeigler-Hill, Todd K. Shackelford

Dictator Game

  • Johannes LederEmail author
  • Astrid SchützEmail author
Living reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-28099-8_652-1


The dictator game is an experimental paradigm in which one participant (the dictator) receives an endowment and then decides to what extent she/he wants to split this endowment with another, anonymous participant (the recipient). The action space of the dictator ranges from giving nothing to giving all of the endowment to the recipient. The dictator fully determines the final allocation as the recipient plays a passive role. After learning these rules, the dictator makes a decision. The endowment split, i.e., the pie size given to the recipient, is the dependent variable of the game.


Although self-interest drives the homo economicus, does this apply to homo sapiens as well? Researchers have long asked whether humans show willingness to sacrifice personal payoffs to ensure fairness. In the wake of this question, researchers developed the dictator gamewith the goal of answering this question. The dictator game, a kind of bargaining experiment without any...

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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PsychologyUniversity of BambergBambergGermany

Section editors and affiliations

  • John F. Rauthmann
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of PsychologyWake Forest UniversityWinston-SalemUSA