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Homo Aequalis: A Cross-Society Experimental Analysis of Three Bargaining Games

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  • Abigail Barr
  • Chris Wallace

Abstract

Data from three bargaining games - the Dictator Game, the Ultimatum Game, and the Third-Party Punishment Game - played in 15 societies are presented.� The societies range from US undergraduates to Amazonian, Arctic, and African hunter-gatherers.� Behaviour within the games varies markedly across societies.� The paper investigates whether this behavioural diversity can be explained solely by variations in inequality aversion.� Combining a single parameter utility function with the notion of subgame perfection generates a number of testable predictions.� While most of these are supported, there are some telling divergencies between theory and data: uncertainty and preferences relating to acts of vengeance may have influenced play in the Ultimatum and Third-Party Punishment Games; and a few subjects used the games as an opportunity to engage in costly signalling

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by University of Oxford, Department of Economics in its series Economics Series Working Papers with number 422.

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Date of creation: 01 Feb 2009
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Handle: RePEc:oxf:wpaper:422

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Keywords: Bargaining Games; Cross-cultural Experiments; Inequality Aversion;

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  1. Gary Charness & Matthew Rabin, 2002. "Understanding Social Preferences With Simple Tests," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 117(3), pages 817-869, August.
  2. Alvin E. Roth & V. Prasnikar & M. Okuno-Fujiwara & S. Zamir, 1998. "Bargaining and market behavior in Jerusalem, Liubljana, Pittsburgh and Tokyo: an experimental study," Levine's Working Paper Archive 344, David K. Levine.
  3. James Andreoni & Marco Castillo & Ragan Petrie, 2005. "Revealing Preferences for Fairness in Ultimatum Bargaining," Experimental Economics Center Working Paper Series 2006-21, Experimental Economics Center, Andrew Young School of Policy Studies, Georgia State University.
  4. Falk, Armin & Fischbacher, Urs, 2006. "A theory of reciprocity," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 54(2), pages 293-315, February.
  5. 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.
  6. Georg Kirchsteiger & Martin Dufwenberg, 2004. "A theory of sequential reciprocity," ULB Institutional Repository 2013/5899, ULB -- Universite Libre de Bruxelles.
  7. M. Rabin, 2001. "Incorporating Fairness into Game Theory and Economics," Levine's Working Paper Archive 511, David K. Levine.
  8. Ernst Fehr & Urs Fischbacher, . "Third Party Punishment and Social Norms," IEW - Working Papers 106, Institute for Empirical Research in Economics - University of Zurich.
  9. Joseph Henrich, 2001. "In Search of Homo Economicus: Behavioral Experiments in 15 Small-Scale Societies," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 91(2), pages 73-78, May.
  10. 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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Cited by:
  1. Samuel Bowles & Sandra Polanía Reyes, 2009. "Economic Incentives and Social Preferences: A Preference-based Lucas Critique of Public Policy," CESifo Working Paper Series 2734, CESifo Group Munich.
  2. Juan Camilo C�rdenas, 2009. "Experiments in Environment and Development," Annual Review of Resource Economics, Annual Reviews, vol. 1(1), pages 157-182, 09.
  3. Pamela Jakiela & Edward Miguel & Vera L. te Velde, 2010. "You've Earned It: Combining Field and Lab Experiments to Estimate the Impact of Human Capital on Social Preferences," NBER Working Papers 16449, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. Juan Cardenas, 2011. "Social Norms and Behavior in the Local Commons as Seen Through the Lens of Field Experiments," Environmental & Resource Economics, European Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, vol. 48(3), pages 451-485, March.
  5. Samuel Bowles & Sandra Polania-Reyes, 2011. "Economic incentives and social preferences: substitutes or complements?," Department of Economics University of Siena 617, Department of Economics, University of Siena.
  6. Kohler, Stefan, 2013. "Inequality aversion causes equal or unequal division in alternating-offer bargaining," MPRA Paper 40764, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  7. Horak, Sven, 2013. "Cross-cultural experimental economics and indigenous management research: Issues and contributions," Duisburger Arbeitspapiere Ostasienwissenschaften 92/2013, University of Duisburg-Essen, Institute of East Asian Studies IN-EAST.
  8. Samuel Bowles & Sandra Polanía Reyes, 2009. "Economic Incentives and Social Preferences: A preference-Based Lucas Critique of Public Policy," UMASS Amherst Economics Working Papers 2009-11, University of Massachusetts Amherst, Department of Economics.
  9. Kohler, Stefan, 2012. "More fair play in an ultimatum game after resettlement in Zimbabwe: A field experiment and a structural model," MPRA Paper 40248, University Library of Munich, Germany.

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