Shall we pay all? An experimental test of Random Incentivized Systems

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18 January 2019
By CEE-M

This study seeks to investigate the impact of payment procedures on behaviour in a standard Dictator game. Although the Between-subjects Random Incentivized System (BRIS) is increasingly utilized in experimental economics, its use could be contested from a purely theoretical point of view. In the BRIS, all subjects play the Dictator game, but only a percentage of subjects (e.g., 1 out of 10) are paid. The aim of this article is to test whether the results obtained using this system are consistent with those obtained using a conventional full payment system in which every subject receives payment. An additional, hypothetical treatment is also run. Results show a very similar pattern between the BRIS and the full payment treatment, whereas the hypothetical payment mechanism leads to far fewer egoistic players and far more egalitarians. These findings lend support to the use of BRIS as a valid experimental methodology.