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Information acquisition in the ultimatum game: An experimental study

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  • Anders Poulsen

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  • Jonathan Tan

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    Abstract

    We experimentally investigate if free information disadvantages a player relative to when information is unavailable. We study an Ultimatum game where the Proposer, before making an offer, can obtain free information about the Responder's minimum acceptable offer. Theoretically, the Proposer should obtain the information and play a best reply to the Responder's minimum acceptable offer. Thus the Responder should get the largest share of the surplus. We find that an increasing number of Proposers become informed over time. Moreover, the proportion of Proposers who use the information to maximize money earnings increases over time. The majority of information-acquiring Proposers, however, refuse to offer more than one-half and play a best reply only to Responders who accept offers of one-half or less. This, together with a substantial proportion of Proposers who choose to remain uninformed, means that the availability of free information backfires for Proposers only by a little. Copyright Economic Science Association 2007

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    File URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10.1007/s10683-006-9143-z
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    Bibliographic Info

    Article provided by Springer in its journal Experimental Economics.

    Volume (Year): 10 (2007)
    Issue (Month): 4 (December)
    Pages: 391-409

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    Handle: RePEc:kap:expeco:v:10:y:2007:i:4:p:391-409

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    Web page: http://www.springerlink.com/link.asp?id=102888

    Related research

    Keywords: Information acquisition; Ultimatum game; Fairness; Inequity aversion;

    References

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    1. 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.
    2. Harrison, Glenn W & McCabe, Kevin A, 1996. "Expectations and Fairness in a Simple Bargaining Experiment," International Journal of Game Theory, Springer, vol. 25(3), pages 303-27.
    3. Güth, W. & Müller, W. & Spiegel, Y., 2006. "Noisy leadership: An experimental approach," Open Access publications from Tilburg University urn:nbn:nl:ui:12-193643, Tilburg University.
    4. Roberto Weber & Colin Camerer & Marc Knez, 2004. "Timing and Virtual Observability in Ultimatum Bargaining and “Weak Link†Coordination Games," Experimental Economics, Springer, vol. 7(1), pages 25-48, February.
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    6. Oxoby, Robert J. & McLeish, Kendra N., 2004. "Sequential decision and strategy vector methods in ultimatum bargaining: evidence on the strength of other-regarding behavior," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 84(3), pages 399-405, September.
    7. George Loewenstein & Don Moore & Roberto Weber, 2006. "Misperceiving the value of information in predicting the performance of others," Experimental Economics, Springer, vol. 9(3), pages 281-295, September.
    8. Jeannette Brosig & Joachim Weimann & Chun-Lei Yang, 2003. "The Hot Versus Cold Effect in a Simple Bargaining Experiment," Experimental Economics, Springer, vol. 6(1), pages 75-90, June.
    9. Guth, Werner & Huck, Steffen & Rapoport, Amnon, 1998. "The limitations of the positional order effect: Can it support silent threats and non-equilibrium behavior?," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 34(2), pages 313-325, February.
    10. Sven Fischer & Werner Güth & Wieland Müller & Andreas Stiehler, 2006. "From ultimatum to Nash bargaining: Theory and experimental evidence," Experimental Economics, Springer, vol. 9(1), pages 17-33, April.
    11. Camerer, Colin & Loewenstein, George & Weber, Martin, 1989. "The Curse of Knowledge in Economic Settings: An Experimental Analysis," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 97(5), pages 1232-54, October.
    12. Hamilton, J.H. & Slutsky, S.M., 1988. "Endogenous Timing In Duopoly Games: Stackelberg Or Cournot Equilibria," Papers 88-4, Florida - College of Business Administration.
    13. Linda Babcock & George Loewenstein, 1997. "Explaining Bargaining Impasse: The Role of Self-Serving Biases," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 11(1), pages 109-126, Winter.
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    Cited by:
    1. Anders Poulsen & Michael Roos, 2010. "Do people make strategic commitments? Experimental evidence on strategic information avoidance," Experimental Economics, Springer, vol. 13(2), pages 206-225, June.

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