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How to be kind? Outcomes versus Intentions as Determinants of Fairness

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  • Luca Stanca

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Abstract

This paper presents an experimental analysis of the role of out comes and intentions for fair behavior. We consider a symmetric version of the gift-exchange game in a 2x2 design with two treatment variables: intentionality (¯rst mover's choice is either intentional or randomly determined) and outcome (¯rst mover's choice is either costly or free, ie compensated by the experimenter). The four treatments differ with respect to the presence-absence of intentionality and cost for the ¯rst mover, whereas the outcome of the ¯rst mover's action for the second mover's payo® is kept constant across treatments. The results indicate that intentions do not matter for fair behavior, whereas outcomes do matter. In particular, the effect of outcomes is due to concerns for distributional fairness, whereas there is no evidence of an intention-based role for outcomes through signalling kindness.

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File URL: http://dipeco.economia.unimib.it/repec/pdf/mibwpaper145.pdf
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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by University of Milano-Bicocca, Department of Economics in its series Working Papers with number 145.

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Length: 25 pages
Date of creation: Jul 2008
Date of revision: Jul 2008
Handle: RePEc:mib:wpaper:145

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Keywords: Reciprocity; Export; Intentions; Laboratory Experiments;

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  1. Blount, Sally, 1995. "When Social Outcomes Aren't Fair: The Effect of Causal Attributions on Preferences," Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, Elsevier, vol. 63(2), pages 131-144, August.
  2. M. Rabin, 2001. "Incorporating Fairness into Game Theory and Economics," Levine's Working Paper Archive 511, David K. Levine.
  3. Gary Bolton & Axel Ockenfels, 2005. "A stress test of fairness measures in models of social utility," Economic Theory, Springer, vol. 25(4), pages 957-982, 06.
  4. Urs Fischbacher, 2007. "z-Tree: Zurich toolbox for ready-made economic experiments," Experimental Economics, Springer, vol. 10(2), pages 171-178, June.
  5. Offerman, Theo, 2002. "Hurting hurts more than helping helps," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 46(8), pages 1423-1437, September.
  6. Urs Fischbacher & Simon Gaechter & Ernst Fehr, . "Are People Conditionally Cooperative? Evidence from a Public Goods Experiment," IEW - Working Papers 016, Institute for Empirical Research in Economics - University of Zurich.
  7. Charness, Gary B & Rabin, Matthew, 2001. "Understanding Social Preferences With Simple Tests," University of California at Santa Barbara, Economics Working Paper Series qt0dc3k4m5, Department of Economics, UC Santa Barbara.
  8. Fehr, Ernst & Schmidt, Klaus M., 1999. "A theory of fairness, competition, and cooperation," Munich Reprints in Economics 20650, University of Munich, Department of Economics.
  9. Georg Kirchsteiger & Martin Dufwenberg, 2004. "A theory of sequential reciprocity," ULB Institutional Repository 2013/5899, ULB -- Universite Libre de Bruxelles.
  10. Matthias Sutter, 2007. "Outcomes versus intentions. on the nature of fair behavior and its development with age," Artefactual Field Experiments 00109, The Field Experiments Website.
  11. 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.
  12. Andreoni,J. & Brown,P.M. & Vesterlund,L., 1999. "What makes an allocation fair? : Some experimental evidence," Working papers 4, Wisconsin Madison - Social Systems.
  13. Stanca, Luca, 2010. "How to be kind? Outcomes versus intentions as determinants of fairness," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 106(1), pages 19-21, January.
  14. Gary Bolton & Jordi Brandts & Axel Ockenfels, 1998. "Measuring Motivations for the Reciprocal Responses Observed in a Simple Dilemma Game," Experimental Economics, Springer, vol. 1(3), pages 207-219, December.
  15. Ernst Fehr & Simon Gaechter, 2000. "Fairness and Retaliation: The Economics of Reciprocity," CESifo Working Paper Series 336, CESifo Group Munich.
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  17. Simon Gaechter & Armin Falk, . "Reputation and Reciprocity: Consequences for the Labour Relation," IEW - Working Papers 019, Institute for Empirical Research in Economics - University of Zurich.
  18. Georg Kirchsteiger & Ernst Fehr & Arno Riedl, 1993. "Does Fairness Prevent Market Clearing? An Experimental Investigation," ULB Institutional Repository 2013/5927, ULB -- Universite Libre de Bruxelles.
  19. McCabe, Kevin A. & Rigdon, Mary L. & Smith, Vernon L., 2003. "Positive reciprocity and intentions in trust games," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 52(2), pages 267-275, October.
  20. Gary E. Bolton & Jordi Brandts & Axel Ockenfels, 2000. "Fair Procedures. Evidence from Games Involving Lotteries," UFAE and IAE Working Papers 483.01, Unitat de Fonaments de l'Anàlisi Econòmica (UAB) and Institut d'Anàlisi Econòmica (CSIC).
  21. Brandts, Jordi & Sola, Carles, 2001. "Reference Points and Negative Reciprocity in Simple Sequential Games," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 36(2), pages 138-157, August.
  22. Nelson, William Jr., 2002. "Equity or intention: it is the thought that counts," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 48(4), pages 423-430, August.
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Citations

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Cited by:
  1. Leonardo Becchetti & Stefano Castriota & Pierluigi Conzo, 2012. "Calamity, Aid and Indirect Reciprocity: the Long Run Impact of Tsunami on Altruism," CEIS Research Paper 239, Tor Vergata University, CEIS, revised 06 Jul 2012.
  2. Luca Stanca, 2011. "Social science and neuroscience: how can they inform each other?," International Review of Economics, Springer, vol. 58(3), pages 243-256, September.
  3. Felix Bierbrauer & Nick Netzer, 2012. "Mechanism Design and Intentions," Working Paper Series in Economics 53, University of Cologne, Department of Economics, revised 21 Aug 2012.
  4. Di Bartolomeo Giovanni & Papa Stefano, 2013. "Measuring trust, reciprocity and altruism by counterfactuals," wp.comunite 0099, Department of Communication, University of Teramo.
  5. Di Bartolomeo Giovanni & Papa Stefano, 2011. "Dare per avere e dare per dare: due universi paralleli," wp.comunite 0080, Department of Communication, University of Teramo.
  6. Luca Stanca, 2008. "How to be kind? Outcomes versus Intentions as Determinants of Fairness," Working Papers 145, University of Milano-Bicocca, Department of Economics, revised Jul 2008.
  7. Di Bartolomeo Giovanni & Papa Stefano, 2012. "The triadic design to identify trust and reciprocity: Extensions and robustness," wp.comunite 0096, Department of Communication, University of Teramo.

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