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The Impact of Fairness on Decision Making - An Analysis of Different Video Experiments

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  • Heike Hennig-Schmidt

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Abstract

Experimentally observed deviations of behavior from game theoretic predictions suggest that fairness does influence decision making. Fairness in the sense of equality has become an essential element of economic models aiming at explaining actual behavior (cf. Fehr and Schmidt, 1999; Bolton and Ockenfels, 2000). In this paper I will argue that equality is not the only fairness norm to be taken into account. More equity norms than equality exist, including inequality of payoffs. Since inequitable payoff allocations are advantageous for the one player and disadvantageous for the other, subjects may fall prey to a self-serving bias in their fairness perceptions. Opponents may adhere to different conceptions of fairness making agreement impossible. Using the video method (Hennig-Schmidt, 1999) I further show in a bargaining experiment that behavior is goal-oriented. Fairness criteria based on equity norms guide the formation and adaptation of aspiration levels.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by University of Bonn, Germany in its series Bonn Econ Discussion Papers with number bgse14_2001.

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Length: 12
Date of creation: Sep 2000
Date of revision: Feb 2002
Handle: RePEc:bon:bonedp:bgse14_2001

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Postal: Bonn Graduate School of Economics, University of Bonn, Adenauerallee 24 - 26, 53113 Bonn, Germany
Fax: +49 228 73 6884
Web page: http://www.bgse.uni-bonn.de

Related research

Keywords: experimental economics; video experiments; fairness; equity principle; self-serving bias; aspiration levels; decision making;

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References

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  1. Babcock, Linda, et al, 1995. "Biased Judgments of Fairness in Bargaining," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 85(5), pages 1337-43, December.
  2. Ernst Fehr & Klaus M. Schmidt, . "A Theory of Fairness, Competition and Cooperation," IEW - Working Papers 004, Institute for Empirical Research in Economics - University of Zurich.
  3. 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.
  4. Berg Joyce & Dickhaut John & McCabe Kevin, 1995. "Trust, Reciprocity, and Social History," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 10(1), pages 122-142, July.
  5. Gary E Bolton & Axel Ockenfels, 1997. "A Theory of Equity, Reciprocity, and Competition," Levine's Working Paper Archive 1889, David K. Levine.
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Citations

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Cited by:
  1. Bergh, Andreas & Bjørnskov, Christian, 2013. "Trust, Welfare States and Income Equality: What Causes What?," Working Paper Series 994, Research Institute of Industrial Economics.
  2. Asheim, Geir B. & Helland, Leif & Hovi, Jon & Hoyland, Bjorn, 2008. "Self-serving Dictators," Memorandum 26/2008, Oslo University, Department of Economics.
  3. Ronald Bosman & Heike Hennig-Schmidt & Frans vanWinden, 2002. "Exploring Group Behavior in a Power-to-Take Video Experiment," Bonn Econ Discussion Papers bgse7_2002, University of Bonn, Germany, revised May 2002.
  4. Martin Beckenkamp & Heike Hennig-Schmidt & Frank P. Maier-Rigaud, 2007. "Cooperation in Symmetric and Asymmetric Prisoner's Dilemma Games," Working Paper Series of the Max Planck Institute for Research on Collective Goods 2006_25, Max Planck Institute for Research on Collective Goods.
  5. Lange, Andreas & Löschel, Andreas & Vogt, Carsten & Ziegler, Andreas, 2010. "On the self-interested use of equity in international climate negotiations," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 54(3), pages 359-375, April.
  6. Heike Hennig-Schmidt & Zhu-Yu Li & Chaoliang Yang, 2004. "Why People Reject Advantageous Offers – Non-monotone Strategies in Ultimatum Bargaining," Bonn Econ Discussion Papers bgse22_2004, University of Bonn, Germany.
  7. Lange, Andreas & Löschel, Andreas & Vogt, Carsten & Ziegler, Andreas, 2007. "On the Self-serving Use of Equity Principles in International Climate Negotiations," ZEW Discussion Papers 07-025, ZEW - Zentrum für Europäische Wirtschaftsforschung / Center for European Economic Research.

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