The aim of this study is to investigate whether brief exposure to economic theory changes the giving behaviour of people. We apply this research to different default options in a simulated dictator game experiment to see whether it also affects the giving behaviour of people. This is done by analysing quantitative data obtained by means of an online questionnaire. In this survey we asked subjects to divide money between themselves and another random participant in order to derive the degree of generosity. The results show that people give significantly less to others, when they got exposed to brief economic theory than people, who are not exposed to this theory. This reflects a movement towards more rational and selfish behaviour, which is in line with traditional economic theory. Moreover, females give significantly more compared to males when being exposed to theory, suggesting that males are more sensitive to economic theory. Furthermore, we fail to find support in terms of significance across the different default treatments. However, the direction of the specific default effects is in some cases in line with the idea of the default pull. This study may serve as a broadening of knowledge in this field and suggests further research for additional clarification.

dictator game, giving behaviour, altruism, rationality, exposure to theory, defaults
JTR Stoop
Economics of Management and Organisation
Erasmus School of Economics

J Uittenbroek. (2020, July 27). Greedy or Generous? The effect of brief exposure to economic theory and default options on giving behaviour in dictator games.. Economics of Management and Organisation. Retrieved from