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Brishti Guha
''Testing for Malice''
( 2017, Vol. 37 No.1 )
Consider two parties disputing claims over an indivisible prize. A malicious claimant may or may not intrinsically value the prize for its own sake, but always derives pleasure “malice utility” from depriving the rival claimant. I devise a method for detecting malice in experimental settings. I derive a simple mechanism which allows third parties (such as experimenters) to distinguish whether (i) both claimants bear each other malice (two-sided malice) (ii) whether only one claimant bears the other malice (one-sided malice) and if so, the identity of this malicious claimant, and (iii) whether neither of the claimants are maliciously motivated. I show that, with slight modifications, this mechanism is applicable both to the case where the claimants know each other and to the case where they are strangers. I also discuss a method whereby the experimenter may infer an upper bound on the malice of the less malicious party in the case of two-sided malice.
Keywords: Malice, mechanism design, dominant strategies, sequential games, experiments, King Solomon's problem.
JEL: C9 - Design of Experiments: General
Manuscript Received : Nov 26 2016 Manuscript Accepted : Feb 22 2017

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