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Attribution and reciprocity

  • Sebald, Alexander

People infer causes and assign responsibilities for situations they find themselves in. In contradiction with classical presumptions about human behavior, it has been found that the assignment of responsibilities influences people's perceptions about the (un)kindness of others. Kindness perceptions, in turn, influence behavior. Dufwenberg and Kirchsteiger [Dufwenberg, M., Kirchsteiger, G., 2004. A theory of sequential reciprocity. Games Econ. Behav. 47 (2), 268-298] formalize this empirical finding in their 'theory of sequential reciprocity'. This paper extends their analysis by moves of chance. More precisely, an extended framework is presented which allows for the analysis of strategic interactions of reciprocal agents in situations in which material outcomes also depend on chance. Moves of chance influence the attribution of responsibilities, people's perceptions about the (un)kindness of others and, hence, their reciprocal behavior. Furthermore, with the help of two applications it is demonstrated how this framework can be used to explain experimental findings showing that people react very differently in outcomewise-identical situations depending on the moves of chance involved.

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Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Games and Economic Behavior.

Volume (Year): 68 (2010)
Issue (Month): 1 (January)
Pages: 339-352

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Handle: RePEc:eee:gamebe:v:68:y:2010:i:1:p:339-352
Contact details of provider: Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/inca/622836

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  1. Geanakoplos, John & Pearce, David & Stacchetti, Ennio, 1989. "Psychological games and sequential rationality," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 1(1), pages 60-79, March.
  2. Dufwenberg, M. & Kirchsteiger, G., 1998. "A Theory of Sequential Reciprocity," Discussion Paper 1998-37, Tilburg University, Center for Economic Research.
  3. Charness, Gary, 2000. "Responsibility and effort in an experimental labor market," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 42(3), pages 375-384, July.
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  5. Kahneman, Daniel & Knetsch, Jack L & Thaler, Richard, 1986. "Fairness as a Constraint on Profit Seeking: Entitlements in the Market," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 76(4), pages 728-41, September.
  6. Armin Falk & Urs Fischbacher, 2001. "A Theory of Reciprocity," CESifo Working Paper Series 457, CESifo Group Munich.
  7. Gary Charness & David I. Levine, 2007. "Intention and Stochastic Outcomes: An Experimental study," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 117(522), pages 1051-1072, 07.
  8. M. Rabin, 2001. "Incorporating Fairness into Game Theory and Economics," Levine's Working Paper Archive 511, David K. Levine.
  9. Gary Charness, 2004. "Attribution and Reciprocity in an Experimental Labor Market," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 22(3), pages 665-688, July.
  10. Michal Krawczyk, 2011. "A model of procedural and distributive fairness," Theory and Decision, Springer, vol. 70(1), pages 111-128, January.
  11. Pierpaolo Battigalli & Martin Dufwenberg, 2005. "Dynamic Psychological Games," Working Papers 287, IGIER (Innocenzo Gasparini Institute for Economic Research), Bocconi University.
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