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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
  • Joseph Henrich
  • Clark Barrette
  • Alexander Bolyanatz
  • Juan Camilo Cardenas
  • Michael Gurven
  • Edwins Gwako
  • Carolyn Lesorogol
  • Frank Marlowe
  • Richard McElreath
  • David Tracer
  • John Ziker

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 US undergraduates 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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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Centre for the Study of African Economies, University of Oxford in its series CSAE Working Paper Series with number 2009-02.

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Date of creation: 2009
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Handle: RePEc:csa:wpaper:2009-02

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  1. Falk, Armin & Fischbacher, Urs, 2001. "A Theory of Reciprocity," CEPR Discussion Papers, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers 3014, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  2. Gary Charness & Matthew Rabin, 2002. "Understanding Social Preferences With Simple Tests," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, MIT Press, vol. 117(3), pages 817-869, August.
  3. Dufwenberg, M. & Kirchsteiger, G., 1998. "A Theory of Sequential Reciprocity," Discussion Paper, Tilburg University, Center for Economic Research 1998-37, Tilburg University, Center for Economic Research.
  4. Joseph Henrich, 2001. "In Search of Homo Economicus: Behavioral Experiments in 15 Small-Scale Societies," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, American Economic Association, vol. 91(2), pages 73-78, May.
  5. James Andreoni & John Miller, 2002. "Giving According to GARP: An Experimental Test of the Consistency of Preferences for Altruism," Econometrica, Econometric Society, 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, American Economic Association, vol. 83(5), pages 1281-1302, December.
  7. 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, American Economic Association, vol. 93(3), pages 672-685, June.
  8. Alvin E. Roth & V. Prasnikar & M. Okuno-Fujiwara & S. Zamir, 1998. "Bargaining and market behavior in Jerusalem, Liubljana, Pittsburgh and Tokyo: an experimental study," Levine's Working Paper Archive 344, David K. Levine.
  9. James Andreoni & Marco Castillo & Ragan Petrie, 2005. "Revealing Preferences for Fairness in Ultimatum Bargaining," NajEcon Working Paper Reviews, www.najecon.org 666156000000000644, www.najecon.org.
  10. Ernst Fehr & Urs Fischbacher, 2004. "Third-party punishment and social norms," Experimental, EconWPA 0409002, EconWPA.
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Cited by:
  1. Kohler, Stefan, 2013. "Inequality aversion causes equal or unequal division in alternating-offer bargaining," MPRA Paper 40764, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  2. Juan Camilo C�rdenas, 2009. "Experiments in Environment and Development," Annual Review of Resource Economics, Annual Reviews, Annual Reviews, vol. 1(1), pages 157-182, 09.
  3. Horak, Sven, 2013. "Cross-cultural experimental economics and indigenous management research: Issues and contributions," Duisburger Arbeitspapiere Ostasienwissenschaften, University of Duisburg-Essen, Institute of East Asian Studies IN-EAST 92/2013, University of Duisburg-Essen, Institute of East Asian Studies IN-EAST.
  4. 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.
  5. Samuel Bowles & Sandra Polania-Reyes, 2011. "Economic incentives and social preferences: substitutes or complements?," Department of Economics University of Siena, Department of Economics, University of Siena 617, Department of Economics, University of Siena.
  6. 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.
  7. Samuel Bowles & Sandra Polanía Reyes, 2009. "Economic Incentives and Social Preferences: A preference-Based Lucas Critique of Public Policy," UMASS Amherst Economics Working Papers, University of Massachusetts Amherst, Department of Economics 2009-11, University of Massachusetts Amherst, Department of Economics.
  8. 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, European Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, vol. 48(3), pages 451-485, March.
  9. Samuel Bowles & Sandra Polanía Reyes, 2009. "Economic Incentives and Social Preferences: A Preference-based Lucas Critique of Public Policy," CESifo Working Paper Series, CESifo Group Munich 2734, CESifo Group Munich.

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