The effects of the take-option in dictator-game experiments

A comment on Engel's (2011) meta-study

Le Zhang, Andreas Ortmann*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

8 Citations (Scopus)


In this paper, we report a replication of Engel's (Exp. Econ. 14(4):583-610, 2011) meta-study of dictator game experiments. We find Engel's meta-study of dictator game experiments to be robust, with one important exception: the coding of the take-option (List in J. Polit. Econ. 115(3):482-493, 2007; Bardsley in Exp. Econ. 11(2):122-133, 2008; Cappelen et al. in Econ. Lett. 118(2):280-283, 2013). While Engel reports this as having no statistically significant effect, in our replications, we find an economically and statistically significant negative effect on giving in line with the relevant literature.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)414-420
Number of pages7
JournalExperimental Economics
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2014
Externally publishedYes


  • Dictator game experiments
  • Giving
  • Meta-analysis
  • Normalized giving
  • Take-option

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