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Cultural Differences in Ultimatum Game Experiments: Evidence from a Meta-Analysis

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  • Hessel Oosterbeek

    ()

  • Randolph Sloof
  • Gijs van de Kuilen

Abstract

This paper reports the findings of a meta-analysis of 37 papers with 75 results from ultimatum game experiments. We find that on average the proposer offers 40% of the pie to the responder. This share is smaller for larger pie sizes and larger when a strategy method is used or when subjects are inexperienced. On average 16% of the offers is rejected. The rejection rate is lower for larger pie sizes and for larger shares offered. Responders are less willing to accept an offer when the strategy method is employed. As the results come from different countries, meta-analysis provides an alternative way to investigate whether bargaining behavior in ultimatum games differs across countries. We find differences in behavior of responders (and not of proposers) across geographical regions. With one exception, these differences cannot be attributed to various cultural traits on which for instance the cultural classifications of Hofstede (1991) and Inglehart (2000) are based.

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by Springer in its journal Experimental Economics.

Volume (Year): 7 (2004)
Issue (Month): 2 (06)
Pages: 171-188

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Handle: RePEc:kap:expeco:v:7:y:2004:i:2:p:171-188

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

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  1. Kachelmeier, Steven J. & Shehata, Mohamed, 1992. "Culture and competition: A laboratory market comparison between China and the West," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 19(2), pages 145-168, October.
  2. Kahneman, Daniel & Knetsch, Jack L & Thaler, Richard H, 1986. "Fairness and the Assumptions of Economics," The Journal of Business, University of Chicago Press, vol. 59(4), pages S285-300, October.
  3. Lensberg, T. & Heijden, E.C.M. van der, 1998. "A cross-cultural study of reciprocity, trust and altruism in a gift exchange experiment," Discussion Paper 1998-77, Tilburg University, Center for Economic Research.
  4. 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.
  5. Tompkinson, Paul & Bethwaite, Judy, 1995. "The ultimatum game: raising the stakes," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 27(3), pages 439-451, August.
  6. Rapoport, Amnon & Sundali, James A. & Seale, Darryl A., 1996. "Ultimatums in two-person bargaining with one-sided uncertainty: Demand games," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 30(2), pages 173-196, August.
  7. Meyer, Heinz-Dieter, 1992. "Norms and self-interest in ultimatum bargaining: The prince's prudence," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 13(2), pages 215-232, June.
  8. Robert, Christopher & Carnevale, Peter J., 1997. "Group Choice in Ultimatum Bargaining," Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, Elsevier, vol. 72(2), pages 256-279, November.
  9. Abbink, Klaus & Bolton, Gary E. & Sadrieh, Abdolkarim & Tang, Fang-Fang, 2001. "Adaptive Learning versus Punishment in Ultimatum Bargaining," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 37(1), pages 1-25, October.
  10. Mitzkewitz, Michael & Nagel, Rosemarie, 1993. "Experimental Results on Ultimatum Games with Incomplete Information," International Journal of Game Theory, Springer, vol. 22(2), pages 171-98.
  11. Brandts, J. & Saijo, T. & Schram, A., 2000. "A Four Country Comparision of Spite, Cooperation and Errors in Voluntary Contribution Mechanisms," ISER Discussion Paper 0496, Institute of Social and Economic Research, Osaka University.
  12. Kahneman, Daniel & Knetsch, Jack L & Thaler, Richard, 1986. "Fairness as a Constraint on Profit Seeking: Entitlements in the Market," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 76(4), pages 728-41, September.
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