Does the use of money affect results in experimental games? Comparing cash and betel nut in dictator and ultimatum games on New Ireland

Statement of Responsibility:
Bolyanatz, Alexander H

Karl Franklin began working in Papua New Guinea in 1958 at a time when cash was a relatively new medium of exchange in the Highlands of the then-Territory of Papua New Guinea. Contemporary cross-cultural work in experimental economics relies on the use of cash, although there has been little effort to determine whether the use of an introduced medium such as cash produces results that are more a function of cash than of decision-making modules and strategies. This chapter is an account of such an effort. I administered two experimental games—Dictator and Ultimatum—among Sursurunga speakers of the province of New Ireland, Papua New Guinea, using both cash and betel nut. The results suggest that cash, at least on New Ireland, can be used in experimental games such as Dictator and Ultimatum—which, by their nature, are intended to illuminate deeply-rooted exchange strategies—without significantly affecting the outcomes.

pages 327-350
Papua New Guinea
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A Mosaic of languages and cultures: studies celebrating the career of Karl J. Franklin, Kenneth A. McElhanon and Ger Reesink