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Ecologies of Preferences with Envy as an Antidote to Risk-Aversion in Bargaining

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  • Nitai Bergman

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  • Yaacov Bergman

    ()

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    Abstract

    Models have been put forward recently that seem to be successful in explaining apparently anomalous experimental results in the Ultimatum Game, where responders reject positive offers. While imparting fixed preference orders to fully rational agents, these models depart from traditional models by assuming preferences that take account not only of the material payoff to oneself, but also of that which is given to others. However, they leave open the question of how an agent’s economic survival is helped by a preference order that advises him to leave money on the table. Our answer is that, indeed, doing so does not help. But that the same envious preference order that ill advises in some circumstances to reject an “insultingly” small offer, advises well in other circumstances, when it helps the same agent to overcome his risk-aversion and to offer a risky, tough offer that yields him a higher expected dollar gain. We show the existence of population distributions where the two effects exactly balance out across different preference types. These distributions are asymptotically stable, stationary, and inefficient, in which different preferences are represented, and where, as commonly observed in an Ultimatum Game, positive offers are made, of which some are rejected with positive probability. Our theory yields new testable hypotheses.

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    Bibliographic Info

    Paper provided by The Center for the Study of Rationality, Hebrew University, Jerusalem in its series Discussion Paper Series with number dp322.

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    Length: 44 pages
    Date of creation: Apr 2000
    Date of revision: Nov 2001
    Handle: RePEc:huj:dispap:dp322

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    Related research

    Keywords: envy; preferences; evolution; bargaining; ultimatum;

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    References

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    1. Kandel, Eugene & Lazear, Edward P, 1992. "Peer Pressure and Partnerships," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 100(4), pages 801-17, August.
    2. 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.
    3. 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.
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    6. Hoffman Elizabeth & McCabe Kevin & Shachat Keith & Smith Vernon, 1994. "Preferences, Property Rights, and Anonymity in Bargaining Games," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 7(3), pages 346-380, November.
    7. Camerer, Colin F & Hogarth, Robin M, 1999. "The Effects of Financial Incentives in Experiments: A Review and Capital-Labor-Production Framework," Journal of Risk and Uncertainty, Springer, vol. 19(1-3), pages 7-42, December.
    8. Alfred D. Chandler, 1969. "Strategy and Structure: Chapters in the History of the American Industrial Enterprise," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262530090, December.
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    10. Murnighan, J Keith & Roth, Alvin E & Schoumaker, Francoise, 1988. " Risk Aversion in Bargaining: An Experimental Study," Journal of Risk and Uncertainty, Springer, vol. 1(1), pages 101-24, March.
    11. S. Huck & J. Oechssler, 1996. "The Indirect Evolutionary Approach To Explaining Fair Allocations," SFB 373 Discussion Papers 1996,13, Humboldt University of Berlin, Interdisciplinary Research Project 373: Quantification and Simulation of Economic Processes.
    12. Martin J. Osborne & Ariel Rubinstein, 2005. "Bargaining and Markets," Levine's Bibliography 666156000000000515, UCLA Department of Economics.
    13. 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.
    14. 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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    16. repec:att:wimass:9325 is not listed on IDEAS
    17. Gale, John & Binmore, Kenneth G. & Samuelson, Larry, 1995. "Learning to be imperfect: The ultimatum game," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 8(1), pages 56-90.
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