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What Do Bargainers' Preferences Look Like? Experiments with a Convex Ultimatum Game

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  • James Andreoni
  • Marco Castillo
  • Ragan Petrie

Abstract

The ultimatum game, by its all-or-nothing nature, makes it difficult to discern what kind of preferences may be generating choices. We explore a game that convexifies the decisions, allowing us a better look at the indifference curves of bargainers while maintaining the subgame-perfect equilibrium. We conclude that bargainers' preferences are convex and regular but not always monotonic. Money-maximization is the sole concern for about half of the subjects, while the other half reveal a preference for fairness. We also found, unexpectedly, the importance of risk aversion among money-maximizing proposers, which in turn generates significant bargaining power for fair-minded responders.

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by American Economic Association in its journal American Economic Review.

Volume (Year): 93 (2003)
Issue (Month): 3 (June)
Pages: 672-685

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Handle: RePEc:aea:aecrev:v:93:y:2003:i:3:p:672-685

Note: DOI: 10.1257/000282803322157034
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  1. Rabin, Matthew, 1993. "Incorporating Fairness into Game Theory and Economics," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 83(5), pages 1281-1302, December.
  2. Robert Slonim & Alvin E. Roth, 1998. "Learning in High Stakes Ultimatum Games: An Experiment in the Slovak Republic," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 66(3), pages 569-596, May.
  3. Forsythe Robert & Horowitz Joel L. & Savin N. E. & Sefton Martin, 1994. "Fairness in Simple Bargaining Experiments," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 6(3), pages 347-369, May.
  4. Andreoni, J., 1993. "Cooperation in Public Goods Experiments: Kindness or Confusion?," Working papers 9309, Wisconsin Madison - Social Systems.
  5. J. Ochs & Alvin E. Roth, 1998. "An experimental study of sequential bargaining," Levine's Working Paper Archive 331, David K. Levine.
  6. Rothschild, Michael & Stiglitz, Joseph E., 1970. "Increasing risk: I. A definition," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 2(3), pages 225-243, September.
  7. Jordi Brandts & Gary Charness, 1998. "Hot vs. cold: Sequential responses and preference stability in experimental games," Economics Working Papers 321, Department of Economics and Business, Universitat Pompeu Fabra.
  8. Alvin E. Roth & V. Prasnikar & M. Okuno-Fujiwara & S. Zamir, 1998. "Bargaining and market behavior in Jerusalem, Liubljana, Pittsburgh and Tokyo: an experimental study," Levine's Working Paper Archive 344, David K. Levine.
  9. Eckel, Catherine C & Grossman, Philip J, 2001. "Chivalry and Solidarity in Ultimatum Games," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 39(2), pages 171-88, April.
  10. James Andreoni & John Miller, 2002. "Giving According to GARP: An Experimental Test of the Consistency of Preferences for Altruism," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 70(2), pages 737-753, March.
  11. Suleiman, Ramzi, 1996. "Expectations and fairness in a modified Ultimatum game," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 17(5), pages 531-554, November.
  12. Axel Ockenfels & Gary E. Bolton, 2000. "ERC: A Theory of Equity, Reciprocity, and Competition," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 90(1), pages 166-193, March.
  13. Guth, Werner & Schmittberger, Rolf & Schwarze, Bernd, 1982. "An experimental analysis of ultimatum bargaining," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 3(4), pages 367-388, December.
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