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Some Experimental Evidence On The Evolution Of Discrimination, Co--Operation And Perceptions Of Fairness

  • Shaun Hargreaves-Heap

    (University of East Anglia)

  • Yanis Varoufakis

    (University of Sydney and University of Athens)

When two people agree to trade, they unlock a mutual benefit, resolve a potential conflict and gain in proportion to their relative "aggression", eg the Hawk--Dove game. In an experiment with this game, a discriminatory convention evolved when half of the players were randomly assigned a red and the other half a blue label. Later, the same players were also offered the option of co--operating. Those disadvantaged by the colour--based discriminatory convention co--operated with one another most of the time while the rest did not. The paper offers an explanation of these observations based on a modification of Rabin (1993). The weaker are always anxious for justice and equality. The strong pay heed to neither. (Aristotle, "Politics", s1318b) Copyright 2002 Royal Economic Society

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Article provided by Royal Economic Society in its journal The Economic Journal.

Volume (Year): 112 (2002)
Issue (Month): 481 (July)
Pages: 679-703

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Handle: RePEc:ecj:econjl:v:112:y:2002:i:481:p:679-703
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  1. Bacharach, Michael, 1999. "Interactive team reasoning: A contribution to the theory of co-operation," Research in Economics, Elsevier, vol. 53(2), pages 117-147, June.
  2. Bacharach, Michael & Bernasconi, Michele, 1997. "The Variable Frame Theory of Focal Points: An Experimental Study," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 19(1), pages 1-45, April.
  3. Erev, Ido & Bereby-Meyer, Yoella & Roth, Alvin E., 1999. "The effect of adding a constant to all payoffs: experimental investigation, and implications for reinforcement learning models," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 39(1), pages 111-128, May.
  4. Jorgen W. Weibull, 1997. "Evolutionary Game Theory," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262731215, June.
  5. Schotter, Andrew & Weiss, Avi & Zapater, Inigo, 1996. "Fairness and survival in ultimatum and dictatorship games," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 31(1), pages 37-56, October.
  6. Mehta, Judith & Starmer, Chris & Sugden, Robert, 1994. "The Nature of Salience: An Experimental Investigation of Pure Coordination Games," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 84(3), pages 658-73, June.
  7. Friedman, Daniel, 1996. "Equilibrium in Evolutionary Games: Some Experimental Results," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 106(434), pages 1-25, January.
  8. Erev, Ido & Roth, Alvin E, 1998. "Predicting How People Play Games: Reinforcement Learning in Experimental Games with Unique, Mixed Strategy Equilibria," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 88(4), pages 848-81, September.
  9. Babcock, Linda, et al, 1995. "Biased Judgments of Fairness in Bargaining," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 85(5), pages 1337-43, December.
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