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Fairness through the Lens of Cooperative Game Theory: An Experimental Approach

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Abstract

This paper experimentally investigates cooperative game theory from a normative perspective. Subjects designated as Decision Makers express their view on what is fair for others, by recommending a payoff allocation for three subjects (Recipients) whose substitutabilities and complementarities are captured by a characteristic function. We show that axioms and solution concepts from cooperative game theory provide valuable insights into the data. Axiomatic and regression analysis suggest that Decision Makers' choices can be (noisily) described as a convex combination of the Shapley value and equal split solution. A mixture model analysis, examining the distribution of Just Deserts indices describing how far one goes in the direction of the Shapley value, reveals heterogeneity across characteristic functions. Aggregating opinions by averaging, however, shows that the societal view of what is fair remains remarkably consistent across problems.

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File URL: http://cowles.econ.yale.edu/P/cd/d19a/d1925.pdf
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Paper provided by Cowles Foundation for Research in Economics, Yale University in its series Cowles Foundation Discussion Papers with number 1925.

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Length: 51 pages
Date of creation: Nov 2013
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:cwl:cwldpp:1925

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Keywords: Cooperative game theory; Fairness; Experiment;

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  1. Alexander W. Cappelen & Astri Drange Hole & Erik Ø Sørensen & Bertil Tungodden, 2007. "The Pluralism of Fairness Ideals: An Experimental Approach," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 97(3), pages 818-827, June.
  2. Vincent P. Crawford & Miguel A. Costa-Gomes & Nagore Iriberri, 2013. "Structural Models of Nonequilibrium Strategic Thinking: Theory, Evidence, and Applications," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 51(1), pages 5-62, March.
  3. Fehr, Ernst & Schmidt, Klaus M., . "A theory of fairness, competition, and cooperation," Chapters in Economics, University of Munich, Department of Economics.
  4. Charness, Gary & Rabin, Matthew, 2002. "Understanding Social Preferences with Simple Tests," Department of Economics, Working Paper Series qt3d04q5sm, Department of Economics, Institute for Business and Economic Research, UC Berkeley.
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  6. 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.
  7. Edi Karni & Zvi Safra, 2002. "Individual Sense of Justice: A Utility Representation," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 70(1), pages 263-284, January.
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  9. Rubinstein, Ariel & Fishburn, Peter C., 1986. "Algebraic aggregation theory," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 38(1), pages 63-77, February.
  10. Cappelen, Alexander W. & Sørensen, Erik Ø. & Tungodden, Bertil, 2010. "Responsibility for what? Fairness and individual responsibility," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 54(3), pages 429-441, April.
  11. Raymond Fisman & Shachar Kariv & Daniel Markovits, 2007. "Individual Preferences for Giving," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 97(5), pages 1858-1876, December.
  12. Armin Falk & Urs Fischbacher, . "A Theory of Reciprocity," IEW - Working Papers 006, Institute for Empirical Research in Economics - University of Zurich.
  13. James Konow, 2003. "Which Is the Fairest One of All? A Positive Analysis of Justice Theories," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 41(4), pages 1188-1239, December.
  14. Maschler, M & Owen, G, 1989. "The Consistent Shapley Value for Hyperplane Games," International Journal of Game Theory, Springer, vol. 18(4), pages 389-407.
  15. J. Keith Murnighan & Alvin E. Roth, 1977. "The Effects of Communication and Information Availability in an Experimental Study of a Three-Person Game," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 23(12), pages 1336-1348, August.
  16. Gary E. Bolton & Kalyan Chatterjee & Kathleen L. McGinn, 2003. "How Communication Links Influence Coalition Bargaining: A Laboratory Investigation," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 49(5), pages 583-598, May.
  17. 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.
  18. 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.
  19. Ernesto Dal Bó & Pedro Dal Bó, 2009. ""Do the Right Thing:" The Effects of Moral Suasion on Cooperation," NBER Working Papers 15559, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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