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Bounded Rationality in Bargaining Games: Do Proposers Believe That Responders Reject an Equal Split?

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  • Ben Greiner

Abstract

Puzzled by the experimental results of the 'impunity game' by Bolton and Zwick (1995) we replicate the game and alter it in a systematic manner. We find that although almost nobody actually rejects an offered equal split in a bargaining game, proposers behave as if there would be a considerably large rejection rate for equal splits. This result is inconsistent with existing models of economic decision making. This includes models of selfish players as well as models of social utility and reciprocity, even when combined with erroneous decision making. Our data suggests that subjects fail to foresee their opponent's decision even for one step in our simple bargaining games. We consider models of bounded rational decision making such as rules of thumb as explanations for the observed behavioral pattern.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by University of Cologne, Department of Economics in its series Working Paper Series in Economics with number 11.

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Length: 24 pages
Date of creation: 19 Jun 2004
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:kls:series:0011

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Keywords: ultimatum game; dictator game; impunity game; social utility; bounded rationality;

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  1. Matthew Rabin., 1992. "Incorporating Fairness into Game Theory and Economics," Economics Working Papers 92-199, University of California at Berkeley.
  2. Jordi Brandts & Gary Charness, 2000. "Hot vs. Cold: Sequential Responses and Preference Stability in Experimental Games," Experimental Economics, Springer, vol. 2(3), pages 227-238, March.
  3. Bolton Gary E. & Zwick Rami, 1995. "Anonymity versus Punishment in Ultimatum Bargaining," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 10(1), pages 95-121, July.
  4. 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.
  5. 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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