The Evolution of a "Kantian Trait": Inferring from the Dictator Game

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Working paper
Lorenzo Cerda Planas
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Documents de travail du Centre d'Economie de la Sorbonne
The aim of this paper is twofold. Starting from the population dynamics literature, which usually finds the resulting distribution of a trait in a population, according to some parents' preferences, I answer the inverted question: Which preference function would yield into a given trait distribution? I solve this using a continuous trait, instead of finite types of agents. Using this result, I connect this transmission theory of social traits with the well-known results of Dictator Game (DG) experiments. I use a specific definition of a Kantian trait applied to DG results, and determine the distribution of this trait that is commonly found in these experiments. With these two ingredients, I show that homo-oeconomicus parents have a greater' dislike' or disutility of having offspring with different traits from them compared to their Kantian counterparts. This could be a result of myopic empathy being stronger in homo-oeconomicus parents, driving this dislike of difference.
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