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Sex Differences in the Ultimatum Game: An Evolutionary Psychology Perspective

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  • Gad Saad

    ()

  • Tripat Gill

    ()

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    Abstract

    In the two-person ultimatum game, an allocator is required to split a given sum of money with a recipient. Subsequently the recipient can either accept or reject the offer. If it is accepted, both players receive their respective splits, while if it is rejected neither of them get anything. Using evolutionary psychology as the theoretical framework, we predicted and found that males made more generous offers when pitted against a female as opposed to a male. While females made equal offers independently of the sex of the recipient. That male allocators are altruistic towards female recipients and competitive with male recipients is construed as a manifestation of social rules, which evolve from the male pre-disposition to use resources for attracting mates. In contrast, females have not evolved such a pre-disposition, and thus, female allocators are more concerned about fairness when making offers to recipients. Several alternate explanations of the above findings are discussed and the evolutionary explanation is concluded as the most parsimonious one. Other potential moderators that are amenable to evolutionary explanations, namely, physical attractiveness, age and ethnicity of participants, are also discussed in this context. Copyright Kluwer Academic Publishers 2001

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    File URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10.1023/A:1020583425623
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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: 171-193

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    Handle: RePEc:kap:jbioec:v:3:y:2001:i:2:p:171-193

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

    Related research

    Keywords: economic games; human sex differences; social behavior;

    References

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    1. 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.
    2. 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.
    3. 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.
    4. Eckel, Catherine C & Grossman, Philip J, 2001. "Chivalry and Solidarity in Ultimatum Games," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 39(2), pages 171-88, April.
    5. Keith Murnighan & M Saxon, 1998. "Ultimatum bargaining by children and adults," Artefactual Field Experiments 00100, The Field Experiments Website.
    6. Roth, Alvin E. & Vesna Prasnikar & Masahiro Okuno-Fujiwara & Shmuel Zamir, 1991. "Bargaining and Market Behavior in Jerusalem, Ljubljana, Pittsburgh, and Tokyo: An Experimental Study," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 81(5), pages 1068-95, December.
    7. Cason, Timothy N & Mui, Vai-Lam, 1997. "A Laboratory Study of Group Polarisation in the Team Dictator Game," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 107(444), pages 1465-83, September.
    8. Mason, Charles F. & Phillips, Owen R. & Redington, Douglas B., 1991. "The role of gender in a non-cooperative game," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 15(2), pages 215-235, March.
    9. Gad Saad & Tripat Gill, 2001. "The effects of a recipient's gender in a modified dictator game," Applied Economics Letters, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 8(7), pages 463-466.
    10. Eckel, Catherine C. & Grossman, Philip J., 1996. "The relative price of fairness: gender differences in a punishment game," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 30(2), pages 143-158, August.
    11. 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.
    12. Ortmann, Andreas & Tichy, Lisa K., 1999. "Gender differences in the laboratory: evidence from prisoner's dilemma games," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 39(3), pages 327-339, July.
    13. Solnick, Sara J. & Schweitzer, Maurice E., 1999. "The Influence of Physical Attractiveness and Gender on Ultimatum Game Decisions," Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, Elsevier, vol. 79(3), pages 199-215, September.
    14. Bram Cadsby, C. & Maynes, Elizabeth, 1998. "Gender and free riding in a threshold public goods game: Experimental evidence," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 34(4), pages 603-620, March.
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    Cited by:
    1. Fiedler, Marina & Haruvy, Ernan & Li, Sherry Xin, 2011. "Social distance in a virtual world experiment," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 72(2), pages 400-426, June.
    2. Werner Güth & Martin G. Kocher, 2013. "More than Thirty Years of Ultimatum Bargaining Experiments: Motives, Variations, and a Survey of the Recent Literature," CESifo Working Paper Series 4380, CESifo Group Munich.

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