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Retribution In A Cheap-Talk Experiment

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  • Jordi Brandts
  • Gary Charnes

Abstract

We use a two-person 3-stage game to investigate whether people choose to punish or reward another player by sacrificing money to increase or decrease the other person's payoff. One player sends a message indicating an intended play, which is either favorable or unfavorable to the other player in the game. After the message, the sender and the receiver play a simultaneous 2x2 game. A deceptive message may be made, in an effort to induce the receiver to make a play favorable to the sender. Our focus is on whether receivers' rates of monetary sacrifice depend on the process and the perceived sender's intention, as is suggested by the literature on deception and procedural satisfaction. Models such as Rabin (1993), Sen (1997), and Charness and Rabin (1999) also permit rates of sacrifice to be sensitive to the sender's perceived intention, while outcome-based models such as Fehr and Schmidt (1999) and Bolton and Ockenfels (1997) predict otherwise. We find that deception substantially increases the punishment rate as a response to an action that is unfavorable to the receiver. We also find that a small but significant percentage of subjects choose to reward a favorable action choice made by the sender.

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Paper provided by Unitat de Fonaments de l'Anàlisi Econòmica (UAB) and Institut d'Anàlisi Econòmica (CSIC) in its series UFAE and IAE Working Papers with number 454.00.

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Handle: RePEc:aub:autbar:454.00

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  1. Fehr, Ernst & Schmidt, Klaus M., 1999. "A theory of fairness, competition, and cooperation," Munich Reprints in Economics, University of Munich, Department of Economics 20650, University of Munich, Department of Economics.
  2. Gary E Bolton & Axel Ockenfels, 1997. "A Theory of Equity, Reciprocity, and Competition," Levine's Working Paper Archive 1889, David K. Levine.
  3. Paul M. Romer, 1996. "Preferences, Promises, and the Politics of Entitlement," NBER Chapters, in: Individual and Social Responsibility: Child Care, Education, Medical Care, and Long-Term Care in America, pages 195-228 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. Armin Falk & Ernst Fehr & Urs Fischbacher, . "On the Nature of Fair Behavior," IEW - Working Papers 017, Institute for Empirical Research in Economics - University of Zurich.
  5. Amartya Sen, 1996. "Maximization and the Act of Choice," Harvard Institute of Economic Research Working Papers 1766, Harvard - Institute of Economic Research.
  6. Gary E. Bolton & Jordi Brandts & Elena Katok, 2000. "How strategy sensitive are contributions?," Economic Theory, Springer, Springer, vol. 15(2), pages 367-387.
  7. M. Rabin, 2001. "Incorporating Fairness into Game Theory and Economics," Levine's Working Paper Archive 511, David K. Levine.
  8. Alvin E Roth & J K Murnighan, 1997. "The rule of information in bargaining: an experimental study," Levine's Working Paper Archive 1631, David K. Levine.
  9. Charness, Gary B & Levine, David I. I., 2000. "When Are Layoffs Acceptable? Evidence From A Quasi-Experiment," University of California at Santa Barbara, Economics Working Paper Series qt4vs7h4hh, Department of Economics, UC Santa Barbara.
  10. Theo Offerman, 1999. "Hurting hurts more than Helping helps: The Role of the Self-serving Bias," Tinbergen Institute Discussion Papers 99-018/1, Tinbergen Institute.
  11. Falk, Armin & Fischbacher, Urs, 2001. "A Theory of Reciprocity," CEPR Discussion Papers 3014, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  12. 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.
  13. Brandts, Jordi & Sola, Carles, 2001. "Reference Points and Negative Reciprocity in Simple Sequential Games," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 36(2), pages 138-157, August.
  14. Timothy N. Cason & Vai-Lam Mui, 1998. "Social Influence in the Sequential Dictator Game," Monash Economics Working Papers archive-37, Monash University, Department of Economics.
  15. Gary Charness & Matthew Rabin, 2001. "Social Preferences: Some Simple Tests and a New Model," General Economics and Teaching, EconWPA 0012002, EconWPA.
  16. Gary Charness, 1996. "Attribution and reciprocity in a simulated labor market: An experimental investigation," Economics Working Papers 283, Department of Economics and Business, Universitat Pompeu Fabra, revised Oct 1997.
  17. Blount, Sally, 1995. "When Social Outcomes Aren't Fair: The Effect of Causal Attributions on Preferences," Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, Elsevier, Elsevier, vol. 63(2), pages 131-144, August.
  18. Shapiro, Debra L. & Bies, Robert J., 1994. "Threats, Bluffs, and Disclaimers in Negotiations," Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, Elsevier, Elsevier, vol. 60(1), pages 14-35, October.
  19. Bolton, G.E. & Brandts, J. & Ockenfels, A., 1997. "Measuring Motivations for the Reciprocal Responses Observed in a Simple Dilemma Game," UFAE and IAE Working Papers, Unitat de Fonaments de l'Anàlisi Econòmica (UAB) and Institut d'Anàlisi Econòmica (CSIC) 400.97, Unitat de Fonaments de l'Anàlisi Econòmica (UAB) and Institut d'Anàlisi Econòmica (CSIC).
  20. 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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Cited by:
  1. Gary Charness & Matthew Rabin, 2000. "Social Preferences: Some Simple Tests and a New Model," Econometric Society World Congress 2000 Contributed Papers 1483, Econometric Society.
  2. Martin Sandbu, 2008. "Axiomatic foundations for fairness-motivated preferences," Social Choice and Welfare, Springer, Springer, vol. 31(4), pages 589-619, December.
  3. James C. Cox & Daniel Friedman & Steven Gjerstad, 2006. "A Tractable Model of Reciprocity and Fairness," Experimental Economics Center Working Paper Series, Experimental Economics Center, Andrew Young School of Policy Studies, Georgia State University 2006-05, Experimental Economics Center, Andrew Young School of Policy Studies, Georgia State University.
  4. Croson, Rachel & Boles, Terry & Murnighan, J. Keith, 2003. "Cheap talk in bargaining experiments: lying and threats in ultimatum games," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 51(2), pages 143-159, June.
  5. Offerman, Theo, 2002. "Hurting hurts more than helping helps," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 46(8), pages 1423-1437, September.

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