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Stakes Matter in Ultimatum Games

Author

Listed:
  • Steffen Andersen
  • Seda Ertac
  • Uri Gneezy
  • Moshe Hoffman
  • John A. List

Abstract

One of the most robust findings in experimental economics is that individuals in one-shot ultimatum games reject unfair offers. Puzzlingly, rejections have been found robust to substantial increases in stakes. By using a novel experimental design that elicits frequent low offers and uses much larger stakes than in the literature, we are able to examine stakes' effects over ranges of data that are heretofore unexplored. Our main result is that proportionally equivalent offers are less likely to be rejected with high stakes. In fact, our paper is the first to present evidence that as stakes increase, rejection rates approach zero. (JEL: C72, C78, C91)

Suggested Citation

  • Steffen Andersen & Seda Ertac & Uri Gneezy & Moshe Hoffman & John A. List, 2011. "Stakes Matter in Ultimatum Games," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 101(7), pages 3427-3439, December.
  • Handle: RePEc:aea:aecrev:v:101:y:2011:i:7:p:3427-39
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Matthias Sutter, 2009. "Deception Through Telling the Truth?! Experimental Evidence From Individuals and Teams," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 119(534), pages 47-60, January.
    2. Cameron, Lisa A, 1999. "Raising the Stakes in the Ultimatum Game: Experimental Evidence from Indonesia," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 37(1), pages 47-59, January.
    3. Hessel Oosterbeek & Randolph Sloof & Gijs van de Kuilen, 2004. "Cultural Differences in Ultimatum Game Experiments: Evidence from a Meta-Analysis," Experimental Economics, Springer;Economic Science Association, vol. 7(2), pages 171-188, June.
    4. List, John A. & Cherry, Todd L., 2008. "Examining the role of fairness in high stakes allocation decisions," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 65(1), pages 1-8, January.
    5. Carpenter, Jeffrey P., 2007. "The demand for punishment," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 62(4), pages 522-542, April.
    6. Steffen Andersen & Seda Ertac & Uri Gneezy & Moshe Hoffman & John A. List, 2011. "Stakes Matter in Ultimatum Games," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 101(7), pages 3427-3439, December.
    7. Uri Gneezy, 2005. "Deception: The Role of Consequences," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 95(1), pages 384-394, March.
    8. 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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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • C70 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Game Theory and Bargaining Theory - - - General
    • D40 - Microeconomics - - Market Structure, Pricing, and Design - - - General

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