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Fairness, errors and the power of competition

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  • Fischbacher, Urs
  • Fong, Christina M.
  • Fehr, Ernst

Abstract

In this paper, we investigate the effects of competition on bargained outcomes. We show that the neglect of either fairness concerns or decision errors will prevent a satisfactory understanding of how competition affects bargaining. We conducted experiments which demonstrate that introducing a small amount of competition to a bilateral ultimatum game - by adding just one competitor - induces large behavioral changes among responders and proposers, causing large changes in accepted offers. Models that assume that all people are self-interested and fully rational do not adequately explain these changes. We show that a model which combines heterogeneous fairness concerns with decision errors correctly predicts the comparative static effects of changes in competition. Moreover, the combined model is remarkably good at predicting the entire distribution of offers in many different competitive situations.

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Bibliographic Info

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

Volume (Year): 72 (2009)
Issue (Month): 1 (October)
Pages: 527-545

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Handle: RePEc:eee:jeborg:v:72:y:2009:i:1:p:527-545

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Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/jebo

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Keywords: Competition Fairness Reciprocity Quantal response equilibrium;

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References

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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. Ernst Fehr & Klaus M. Schmidt, 1999. "A Theory Of Fairness, Competition, And Cooperation," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 114(3), pages 817-868, August.
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  12. Fehr, Ernst & Schmidt, Klaus M., 2001. "Theories of Fairness and Reciprocity," Discussion Papers in Economics 14, University of Munich, Department of Economics.
  13. Palfrey, Thomas R. & Goeree, Jacob & Holt, Charles, 2000. "Quantal Response Equilibrium and Overbidding in Private-value Auctions," Working Papers 1073, California Institute of Technology, Division of the Humanities and Social Sciences.
  14. Georg Kirchsteiger & Ernst Fehr & Arno Riedl, 1993. "Does Fairness Prevent Market Clearing? An Experimental Investigation," ULB Institutional Repository 2013/5927, ULB -- Universite Libre de Bruxelles.
  15. Jacob K. Goeree & Charles A. Holt, . "Asymmetric Inequality Aversion and Noisy Behavior in Alternating-Offer Bargaining Games," Virginia Economics Online Papers 329, University of Virginia, Department of Economics.
  16. Brit Grosskopf, 2003. "Reinforcement and Directional Learning in the Ultimatum Game with Responder Competition," Experimental Economics, Springer, vol. 6(2), pages 141-158, October.
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  18. Colin Camerer & Teck-Hua Ho, 1999. "Experience-weighted Attraction Learning in Normal Form Games," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 67(4), pages 827-874, July.
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  22. 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.
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