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On the behavior of proposers in ultimatum games

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  • Brenner, Thomas
  • Vriend, Nicolaas J.

Abstract

We demonstrate that one should not expect convergence of the proposals to the subgame perfect Nash equilibrium offer in standard ultimatum games. First, imposing strict experimental control of the behavior of the receiving players and focusing on the behavior of the proposers, we show experimentally that proposers do not learn to make the expected-payoff- maximizing offer. Second, considering a range of learning theories (from optimal to boundedly rational), we explain that this is an inherent feature of the learning task faced by the proposers, and we provide some insights into the actual learning behavior of the experimental subjects. This explanation for the lack of convergence to the subgame perfect Nash equilibrium in ultimatum games complements most alternative explanations.

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization.

Volume (Year): 61 (2006)
Issue (Month): 4 (December)
Pages: 617-631

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Handle: RePEc:eee:jeborg:v:61:y:2006:i:4:p:617-631

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  1. Roth, Alvin E. & Erev, Ido, 1995. "Learning in extensive-form games: Experimental data and simple dynamic models in the intermediate term," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 8(1), pages 164-212.
  2. 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.
  3. Gale, John & Binmore, Kenneth G. & Samuelson, Larry, 1995. "Learning to be imperfect: The ultimatum game," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 8(1), pages 56-90.
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  8. Vriend, Nicolaas J., 1997. "Will reasoning improve learning?," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 55(1), pages 9-18, August.
  9. Brezzi, Monica & Lai, Tze Leung, 2002. "Optimal learning and experimentation in bandit problems," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 27(1), pages 87-108, November.
  10. Bergemann, Dirk & Valimaki, Juuso, 2001. "Stationary multi-choice bandit problems," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 25(10), pages 1585-1594, October.
  11. Binmore, K. & Samuelson, L. & Gale, J., 1993. "Learning to be Imperfect: The Ultimatum Game," Working papers 9325, Wisconsin Madison - Social Systems.
  12. David Cooper & Nick Feltovich & Alvin Roth & Rami Zwick, 2003. "Relative versus Absolute Speed of Adjustment in Strategic Environments: Responder Behavior in Ultimatum Games," Experimental Economics, Springer, vol. 6(2), pages 181-207, October.
  13. 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.
  14. Sarin, Rajiv & Vahid, Farshid, 1999. "Payoff Assessments without Probabilities: A Simple Dynamic Model of Choice," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 28(2), pages 294-309, August.
  15. Werner Guth & Reinhard Tietz, 1997. "Ultimatum bargaining behavior: a survey and comparison of experimental results," Levine's Working Paper Archive 1160, David K. Levine.
  16. Guth, Werner & Tietz, Reinhard, 1990. "Ultimatum bargaining behavior : A survey and comparison of experimental results," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 11(3), pages 417-449, September.
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Cited by:
  1. Reuben, Ernesto & van Winden, Frans, 2010. "Fairness perceptions and prosocial emotions in the power to take," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 31(6), pages 908-922, December.
  2. Wenxin Xie & Yong Li & Yougui Wang & Keqiang Li, 2012. "Responders’ dissatisfaction may provoke fair offer," Journal of Economic Interaction and Coordination, Springer, vol. 7(2), pages 197-207, October.

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