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Homo Æqualis: A Cross-Society Experimental Analysis of Three Bargaining Games

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  • Abigail Barr

    ()

  • Chris Wallace
  • Jean Ensminger
  • Juan Camilo Cárdenas

    ()

Abstract

Data from three bargaining games-the Dictator Game, the Ultimatum Game, and the Third-Party Punishment Game-played in 15 societies are presented. The societies range from USundergraduates to Amazonian, Arctic, and African hunter-gatherers. Behaviour within the games varies markedly across societies. The paper investigates whether this behavioural diversity can be explained solely by variations in inequality aversion. Combining a single parameter utility function with the notion of subgame perfection generates a number of testable predictions. While most of these are supported, there are some telling divergences between theory and data: uncertainty and preferences relating to acts of vengeance may have influenced play in the Ultimatum and Third- Party Punishment Games; and a few subjects used the games as an opportunity to engage in costly signalling.

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Paper provided by UNIVERSIDAD DE LOS ANDES-CEDE in its series DOCUMENTOS CEDE with number 005427.

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Length: 36
Date of creation: 05 Mar 2009
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Handle: RePEc:col:000089:005427

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Keywords: Bargaining Games; cross-cultural experiments; inequality aversion;

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  1. Charness, Gary B & Rabin, Matthew, 2001. "Understanding Social Preferences With Simple Tests," University of California at Santa Barbara, Economics Working Paper Series qt0dc3k4m5, Department of Economics, UC Santa Barbara.
  2. Georg Kirchsteiger & Martin Dufwenberg, 2004. "A theory of sequential reciprocity," ULB Institutional Repository 2013/5899, ULB -- Universite Libre de Bruxelles.
  3. Falk, Armin & Fischbacher, Urs, 2001. "A Theory of Reciprocity," CEPR Discussion Papers 3014, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  4. 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.
  5. James Andreoni & John Miller, 2002. "Giving According to GARP: An Experimental Test of the Consistency of Preferences for Altruism," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 70(2), pages 737-753, March.
  6. Rabin, Matthew, 1993. "Incorporating Fairness into Game Theory and Economics," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 83(5), pages 1281-1302, December.
  7. James Andreoni & Marco Castillo & Ragan Petrie, 2005. "Revealing Preferences for Fairness in Ultimatum Bargaining," Experimental Economics Center Working Paper Series 2006-21, Experimental Economics Center, Andrew Young School of Policy Studies, Georgia State University.
  8. Ernst Fehr & Urs Fischbacher, 2004. "Third-party punishment and social norms," Experimental 0409002, EconWPA.
  9. Joseph Henrich, 2001. "In Search of Homo Economicus: Behavioral Experiments in 15 Small-Scale Societies," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 91(2), pages 73-78, May.
  10. James Andreoni & Marco Castillo & Ragan Petrie, 2003. "What Do Bargainers' Preferences Look Like? Experiments with a Convex Ultimatum Game," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 93(3), pages 672-685, June.
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Cited by:
  1. Juan Cardenas, 2011. "Social Norms and Behavior in the Local Commons as Seen Through the Lens of Field Experiments," Environmental & Resource Economics, European Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, vol. 48(3), pages 451-485, March.
  2. Horak, Sven, 2013. "Cross-cultural experimental economics and indigenous management research: Issues and contributions," Duisburger Arbeitspapiere Ostasienwissenschaften 92/2013, University of Duisburg-Essen, Institute of East Asian Studies IN-EAST.
  3. Kohler, Stefan, 2012. "More fair play in an ultimatum game after resettlement in Zimbabwe: A field experiment and a structural model," MPRA Paper 40248, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  4. Samuel Bowles & Sandra Polania-Reyes, 2011. "Economic incentives and social preferences: substitutes or complements?," Department of Economics University of Siena 617, Department of Economics, University of Siena.
  5. Juan Camilo C�rdenas, 2009. "Experiments in Environment and Development," Annual Review of Resource Economics, Annual Reviews, vol. 1(1), pages 157-182, 09.
  6. Samuel Bowles & Sandra Polanía Reyes, 2009. "Economic Incentives and Social Preferences: A preference-Based Lucas Critique of Public Policy," UMASS Amherst Economics Working Papers 2009-11, University of Massachusetts Amherst, Department of Economics.
  7. Samuel Bowles & Sandra Polanía Reyes, 2009. "Economic Incentives and Social Preferences: A Preference-based Lucas Critique of Public Policy," CESifo Working Paper Series 2734, CESifo Group Munich.
  8. Pamela Jakiela & Edward Miguel & Vera L. te Velde, 2010. "You've Earned It: Combining Field and Lab Experiments to Estimate the Impact of Human Capital on Social Preferences," NBER Working Papers 16449, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  9. Kohler, Stefan, 2013. "Inequality aversion causes equal or unequal division in alternating-offer bargaining," MPRA Paper 40764, University Library of Munich, Germany.

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