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The Knobe Effect in Experimental Economics. Yan Zhou (Kyoto Sangyo University) Sobei H. Oda (Kyoto Sangyo University). Kyoto Sangyo University, Kyoto , Japan , 1st October , 2011. Construction. Philosophical Experiment by Knobe (2003 )

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The knobe effect in experimental economics

The Knobe Effect in Experimental Economics

Yan Zhou (Kyoto Sangyo University)

Sobei H. Oda (Kyoto Sangyo University)

Kyoto Sangyo University, Kyoto , Japan, 1st October, 2011


Construction
Construction

  • Philosophical Experiment by Knobe (2003)

  • Economic Experiment of the Knobe Effect by Utikaland Fischbacher(2009)

  • Our Experiment

  • summary


Harm scenario
Harm Scenario

The CEO of a company is sitting in his office when his Vice President of R&D comes in and says: “We are thinking of starting a new program. It will help us increase profits, but it will also harm the environment.”

The CEO responds that he doesn’t care about harming the environment and just wants to make as much profit as possible. The program is carried out, profits are made and the environment is harmed.

Question: Did the CEO intentionallyharm the environment?


Help scenario
HELP Scenario

The CEO of a company is sitting in his office when his Vice President of R&D comes in and says: “We are thinking of starting a new program. It will help us increase profits, and it will also help the environment.”

The CEO responds that he doesn’t care about helpingthe environment and just wants to make as much profit as possible. The program is carried out, profits are made and the environment is helped.

Question: Did the CEO intentionally help the environment?


The knobe effect
The Knobe Effect

  • Experimental Results: Those who said the CEO did intentionally is 82 per cent for the harm case and 23 per cent for the help case.

  • Philosophical Implication: The notion of intentionality can depend on moral judgement; people tend to think that negative side effects are bought about intentionally by the decision-maker while positives ones are not.

  • Social Implication: You will be criticised for harming others intentionally if you do something good for you but bad for others, while you may not be praised for helping others intentionally if you do something good both for you and others.


Positive

Negative

Side Effect

Not Intended

Third Party’s

Judgement

Intended

Not Reward

Worthy

Punishment

Worthy


International Conference

How and why economists and

philosophers do experiments:

dialogue between experimental economics

and experimental philosophy

Kyoto Sangyo University, Kyoto, Japan
27-28 March 2010

http://www.cc.kyoto-su.ac.jp/project/orc/execo/conf2010/index2010.html


Uti kal and fischbacher s three person two stage game 2009
Utikal and Fischbacher’sthree-person two-stage game (2009)

  • Player 1 can move from X to Y, which increases his/her profit while generating (positive/negative) side-effect on Player 2. Question to Player 1: Do you move to Y?

  • Player 3 redistributes income between Players 1 and 2. Question to Player 3: How do you want to redistribute income if Player 1 moves (does not move) to Y?


Main effect: Y1-X1>0

Side effect: Y2-X2 >0

Y2-X2 =0

Y2-X2 <0


Scenarios u f experiment
Scenarios (U-F experiment)

+1

+1

+1

0

-2

+2

+1

+1

+1

+1

0

+4

-2

+1


U f working hypothesis 0 reward punishment
U-FWorking Hypothesis : 0 ≤ reward < punishment

Side effect

-2000

By chance

Side effect

+2000


U f working hypothesis 0 reward punishment1
U-FWorking Hypothesis : 0 ≤ reward < punishment

Side effect

-2000

By chance

Side effect

+2000

Not observed in their experiment : denial of the Knobe Effect。


Our experiment
Our experiment

Introduction of the Keynesian beauty contest

Opinion questions: What do you want to do (as a fair non-interested third party)?

Guess questions: What do you think will be the median opinion? (Monetary rewards will be shared among those who will have given the median answer.)


Scenarios (Our experiment)

+1000

+1000

+1000

+1000

+1000

-2000

-1000

0

+1000

+2000


Results of Our ExperimentPlayer 3’s Answers to Guess QuestionsRedistribution of unequally distributed income

(Opinion)

55.5%

Player 1’s Income >

Player 2’s Income

<

(39.3%)

33.8%

Player 1’s Income=

Player 2’s Income

(50.4%)

<

Player 1’s Income >

Player 2’s Income

Player 1’s Income <

Player 2’s Income

<

10.7%

(10.4%)


Results of Our ExperimentPlayer 3’s Answers to Guess QuestionsRedistribution of unequally distributed income

(Opinion)

8.0%

(9.8%)

Player 1’s Income <

Player 2’s Income

<

26.6%

(50.1%)

Player 1’s Income =

Player 2’s Income

<

Player 1’s Income <

Player 2’s Income

Player 1’s Income >

Player 2’s Income

65.4%

<

(40.1%)


Results of Our ExperimentPlayer 3’s Answers to Guess QuestionsRedistribution of equally distributed income

(Opinion)

10.2%

Player 1’s Income >

Player 2’s Income

<

(7.9%)

57.7%

(78.6%)

Player 1’s Income =

Player 2’s Income

Player 1’s Income =

Player 2’s Income

Player 1’s Income <

Player 2’s Income

<

32.1%

(13.5%)


Redistribution of unequally distributed income player 3 s answers to opinion guess questions
Redistribution of unequally distributed incomePlayer 3’s Answers to Opinion & Guess Questions

Player I’s Income > Player J’s Income

Player I’s Income > Player J’s Income

Player I’sIncome = Player J’sIncome

Player I’sIncome <Player J’s Income


Redistribution of equally distributed income player 3 s answers to opinion guess questions
Redistribution of equally distributed incomePlayer 3’s Answers to Opinion & Guess Questions

Player I’s Income = Player J’s Income

Player I’sIncome < Player J’sIncome

Player I’sIncome = Player J’sIncome

Player I’sIncome > Player J’sIncome


Summary
Summary

  • A: Inequality Aversion: unequal distribution must be equalised(no matter what is the reason for the present inequality).

  • B: Inequality-reversing Aversion. The existing inequality must be respected (no matter what is the reason for the present inequality). Inequality should be reduced, but must not be reversed.

  • C: The Knobe Effect. Who is responsible for the present distribution matters.

  • A>B in the answers to Opinion questions, while B<A in the answers to Guess questions.

  • C is the third principle in the answers to either question, but stronger in the answers to guess questions.


  • Subjects may have not seriously considered opinion questions, which they knew would not affect their income: they may have saved time to concentrate their attention to guess questions, which they knew would affect their income.

  • If subjects answered both opinion and guess questions seriously, they followed a simple rule  ( inequality aversion ), suspecting that others would take account of other factors ( inequality-reversing aversion).


Thank you for your attention!


Player 1 s answer to opinion questions side effect aversion
Player 1’s Answer to Opinion Questions Side Effect Aversion

Percentage of moving to X

(to increase his/her own income)

Side

effects

[Player 1’s income, Player 2’s income]


Player 1 s answer to guess questions side effect aversion
Player 1’s Answer to Guess Questions Side Effect Aversion

Percentage of moving to X

(to increase his/her own income)

Side

effects

[Player 1’s income, Player 2’s income]






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