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The Ultimatum Game: Optimal Strategies without Fairness

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  • Burnell, Stephen J.
  • Evans, Lewis
  • Yao, Shuntian

Abstract

The Ultimatum game is simple and this facilitates its use in the study of predictions of game theory. Experimental evidence suggests that it doesnot predict individual behavior well unless individuals gain welfarefrom fairness in transactions or have expectations about some widergame. Our model excludes any notion of fairness by including (potential)rivalry in transactions. In this game the proposer's expectations yieldoutcomes that are consistent with experimental evidence. Offers can belarge or small with none in an intermediate range. The consequent distribution appears in Dictator game experiments. Our model explains how it is generated by expectations.
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Suggested Citation

  • Burnell, Stephen J. & Evans, Lewis & Yao, Shuntian, 1999. "The Ultimatum Game: Optimal Strategies without Fairness," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 26(2), pages 221-252, January.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:gamebe:v:26:y:1999:i:2:p:221-252
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    1. Hoffman Elizabeth & McCabe Kevin & Shachat Keith & Smith Vernon, 1994. "Preferences, Property Rights, and Anonymity in Bargaining Games," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 7(3), pages 346-380, November.
    2. Straub, Paul G. & Murnighan, J. Keith, 1995. "An experimental investigation of ultimatum games: information, fairness, expectations, and lowest acceptable offers," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 27(3), pages 345-364, August.
    3. Bolton, Gary E, 1991. "A Comparative Model of Bargaining: Theory and Evidence," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 81(5), pages 1096-1136, December.
    4. Ochs, Jack & Roth, Alvin E, 1989. "An Experimental Study of Sequential Bargaining," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 79(3), pages 355-384, June.
    5. Croson, Rachel T. A., 1996. "Information in ultimatum games: An experimental study," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 30(2), pages 197-212, August.
    6. Rabin, Matthew, 1993. "Incorporating Fairness into Game Theory and Economics," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 83(5), pages 1281-1302, December.
    7. 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.
    8. Hoffman, Elizabeth & McCabe, Kevin & Smith, Vernon L, 1996. "Social Distance and Other-Regarding Behavior in Dictator Games," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 86(3), pages 653-660, June.
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    Cited by:

    1. Costa-Gomes, Miguel & Zauner, Klaus G., 2001. "Ultimatum Bargaining Behavior in Israel, Japan, Slovenia, and the United States: A Social Utility Analysis," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 34(2), pages 238-269, February.
    2. Gagen, Michael, 2013. "Isomorphic Strategy Spaces in Game Theory," MPRA Paper 46176, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    3. Rotemberg, Julio J., 2008. "Minimally acceptable altruism and the ultimatum game," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 66(3-4), pages 457-476, June.
    4. Gneezy, Uri & Guth, Werner & Verboven, Frank, 2000. "Presents or investments? An experimental analysis," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 21(5), pages 481-493, October.
    5. Wenxin Xie & Yong Li & Yougui Wang & Keqiang Li, 2012. "Responders’ dissatisfaction may provoke fair offer," Journal of Economic Interaction and Coordination, Springer;Society for Economic Science with Heterogeneous Interacting Agents, vol. 7(2), pages 197-207, October.
    6. repec:spr:grdene:v:11:y:2002:i:6:d:10.1023_a:1020687015632 is not listed on IDEAS

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