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Social status and bargaining when resources are scarce: Evidence from a field lab experiment

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Author Info

  • Ben D'Exelle

    (CBESS, University of East Anglia)

  • Els Lecoutere

    (Ghent University)

  • Bjorn Van Campenhout

    (University of Antwerp)

Abstract

This paper studies how individual social status influences bilateral bargaining in small-scale societies where resources are scarce. It reports the results of a field lab experiment with members of irrigation schemes who participate either as water distributors or receivers. Our results indicate that social status influences bargaining behavior in two ways. First, with social status being positively correlated with economic wealth, our results confirm a self-serving bias in fairness conceptions. Second, social status influences how receivers react to the received share as well as how distributors adapt their distributive decisions after the receivers' reaction. We also highlight implications of the results for the efficient use of scarce resources.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by School of Economics, University of East Anglia, Norwich, UK. in its series Working Paper series, University of East Anglia, Centre for Behavioural and Experimental Social Science (CBESS) with number 10-09.

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Date of creation: 01 Aug 2010
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Handle: RePEc:uea:wcbess:10-09

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Related research

Keywords: bargaining; social status; scarcity; small-scale societies; field lab experiment;

References

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  1. Cardenas, Juan-Camilo & Ostrom, Elinor, 2004. "What do people bring into the game? Experiments in the field about cooperation in the commons," Agricultural Systems, Elsevier, vol. 82(3), pages 307-326, December.
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  8. Bjorn F.H. Van Campenhout, 2007. "Locally Adapted Poverty Indicators Derived from Participatory Wealth Rankings: A Case of Four Villages in Rural Tanzania," Journal of African Economies, Centre for the Study of African Economies (CSAE), vol. 16(3), pages 406-438, June.
  9. Ball, Sheryl & Eckel, Catherine C., 1998. "The Economic Value of Status," Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics (formerly The Journal of Socio-Economics), Elsevier, vol. 24(4), pages 495-514.
  10. 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.
  11. Weiss, Y. & Fershtman, C., 1997. "Social Status and Economic Performance: A Survey," Papers 19-97, Tel Aviv.
  12. James Konow, 2000. "Fair Shares: Accountability and Cognitive Dissonance in Allocation Decisions," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 90(4), pages 1072-1091, September.
  13. Babcock, Linda, et al, 1995. "Biased Judgments of Fairness in Bargaining," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 85(5), pages 1337-43, December.
  14. Colin F. Camerer & Richard H. Thaler, 1995. "Anomalies: Ultimatums, Dictators and Manners," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 9(2), pages 209-219, Spring.
  15. Tilman Slembeck, 1999. "Reputations and Fairness in Bargaining - Experimental Evidence from a Repeated Ultimatum Game With Fixed Opponents," Experimental 9905002, EconWPA.
  16. Cardenas, Juan-Camilo, 2003. "Real wealth and experimental cooperation: experiments in the field lab," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 70(2), pages 263-289, April.
  17. Guth, Werner & Schmittberger, Rolf & Schwarze, Bernd, 1982. "An experimental analysis of ultimatum bargaining," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 3(4), pages 367-388, December.
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