Role-Reversal Consistency: An Experimental Study of the Golden Rule

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JournalEconomic Inquiry
DateAccepted/In press - 11 Jun 2018
DateE-pub ahead of print - 31 Aug 2018
DatePublished (current) - 4 Dec 2018
Issue number1
Number of pages20
Pages (from-to)685-704
Early online date31/08/18
Original languageEnglish


We report an experiment that asks whether people in a strategic situation behave according to the Golden Rule, that is, do not treat others in ways that they find disagreeable to themselves, a property that we call role-reversal consistency. Overall, we find that over three quarters of the subjects are role-reversal consistent. Regression analysis suggests that this finding is not driven by players maximizing their subjective expected monetary earnings given their stated beliefs about their opponents' behavior. We find that subjects' stated beliefs and actions reveal mild projection bias. (JEL C78, C91).

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