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Fairness Versus Efficiency - An Experimental Study of (Mutual) Gift Giving -

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  • Werner Güth
  • Hartmut Kliemt
  • Axel Ockenfels

Abstract

Retributive responses do play a role in human behavior. Whether they are primarily triggered by supposed intentions or by observed consequences of actions is an important question. It can be addressed by experimental studies of retributive responses in situations in which the individual actor may inflict harmful consequences without intending and intend harmful consequences without inflicting them. Our experimental results indicate that retributive responses are more strongly influenced by observed consequences than by ascribed intentions. However, individual retributive motivations seem to be overshadowed by concerns that are non-retributive altogether in that they focus on end state distributions independently of who brought them about.

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Paper provided by Max Planck Institute of Economics, Strategic Interaction Group in its series Papers on Strategic Interaction with number 2002-40.

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Length: 20 pages
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Handle: RePEc:esi:discus:2002-40

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Keywords: Fairness; Efficiency; reciprocity; Experimental Economics;

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  1. Gary Charness and Matthew Rabin., 2000. "Social Preferences: Some Simple Tests and a New Model," Economics Working Papers E00-283, University of California at Berkeley.
  2. Ernst Fehr & Klaus M. Schmidt, 1999. "A Theory Of Fairness, Competition, And Cooperation," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 114(3), pages 817-868, August.
  3. Dirk Engelmann & Martin Strobel, 2004. "Inequality Aversion, Efficiency, and Maximin Preferences in Simple Distribution Experiments," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 94(4), pages 857-869, September.
  4. Selten, Reinhard & Ockenfels, Axel, 1998. "An experimental solidarity game," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 34(4), pages 517-539, March.
  5. 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.
  6. James Andreoni, 2001. "Giving According to GARP," Theory workshop papers 339, UCLA Department of Economics.
  7. Gary E. Bolton & Rami Zwick & Elena Katok, 1998. "Dictator game giving: Rules of fairness versus acts of kindness," International Journal of Game Theory, Springer, vol. 27(2), pages 269-299.
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