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Reciprocity in Ranked Relationships: Does Social Structure Influence Social Reasoning?

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  • Laurence Fiddick

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  • Denise Cummins

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    Abstract

    Many economic and evolutionary theories have modeled cooperation as the evolutionary outcome of decisions made by autonomous, self-interested agents operating in a social vacuum. In this paper we consider the implications for cooperative interactions when prior social structures and corresponding social norms exist. In particular we investigate the influence of social rank/status on perceptions of fairness and tolerance of cheating. We review evidence from a series of experiments employing the Wason selection task (a test of conditional reasoning) and the ledger task (a decision making task) suggesting that people cued to adopt a perspective of high social rank are more tolerant of cheating and simultaneously believe that they have been more fairly treated (even when cheated) than people cued to adopt a perspective of low social rank. However, the evidence also suggests interesting cross-cultural differences in perceptions of fairness and tolerance of cheating in ranked relationships. Copyright Kluwer Academic Publishers 2001

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    File URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10.1023/A:1020572212265
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    Bibliographic Info

    Article provided by Springer in its journal Journal of Bioeconomics.

    Volume (Year): 3 (2001)
    Issue (Month): 2 (May)
    Pages: 149-170

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    Handle: RePEc:kap:jbioec:v:3:y:2001:i:2:p:149-170

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    Web page: http://www.springerlink.com/link.asp?id=103315

    Related research

    Keywords: cooperation; cheater detection; cross-cultural differences; dominance theory; evolutionary psychology; hierarchy; norms; relative deprivation; social contract theory; status; Wason selection task;

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    1. Simon Gachter & Ernst Fehr, 2000. "Cooperation and Punishment in Public Goods Experiments," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 90(4), pages 980-994, September.
    2. Berg Joyce & Dickhaut John & McCabe Kevin, 1995. "Trust, Reciprocity, and Social History," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 10(1), pages 122-142, July.
    3. Ernst Fehr & Simon Gachter & Georg Kirchsteiger, 1997. "Reciprocity as a Contract Enforcement Device: Experimental Evidence," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 65(4), pages 833-860, July.
    4. M. Rabin, 2001. "Incorporating Fairness into Game Theory and Economics," Levine's Working Paper Archive 511, David K. Levine.
    5. Ben-Ner, Avner & Putterman, Louis, 2000. "On some implications of evolutionary psychology for the study of preferences and institutions," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 43(1), pages 91-99, September.
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    7. Herbert Gintis, 2000. "Strong Reciprocity and Human Sociality," UMASS Amherst Economics Working Papers 2000-02, University of Massachusetts Amherst, Department of Economics.
    8. Hoffman, Elizabeth & McCabe, Kevin A & Smith, Vernon L, 1998. "Behavioral Foundations of Reciprocity: Experimental Economics and Evolutionary Psychology," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 36(3), pages 335-52, July.
    9. Hoffman, Elizabeth & McCabe, Kevin & Smith, Vernon L, 1996. "Social Distance and Other-Regarding Behavior in Dictator Games," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 86(3), pages 653-60, June.
    10. Joseph Henrich, 2000. "Does Culture Matter in Economic Behavior? Ultimatum Game Bargaining among the Machiguenga of the Peruvian Amazon," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 90(4), pages 973-979, September.
    11. Johannesson, Magnus & Persson, Bjorn, 2000. "Non-reciprocal altruism in dictator games," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 69(2), pages 137-142, November.
    12. Fehr, Ernst & Gachter, Simon, 1998. "Reciprocity and economics: The economic implications of Homo Reciprocans1," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 42(3-5), pages 845-859, May.
    13. Cosmides, Leda & Tooby, John, 1994. "Better than Rational: Evolutionary Psychology and the Invisible Hand," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 84(2), pages 327-32, May.
    14. 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.
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