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Fairness, errors and the power of competition

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  • Fischbacher, Urs
  • Fong, Christina M.
  • Fehr, Ernst

Abstract

In this paper, we investigate the effects of competition on bargained outcomes. We show that the neglect of either fairness concerns or decision errors will prevent a satisfactory understanding of how competition affects bargaining. We conducted experiments which demonstrate that introducing a small amount of competition to a bilateral ultimatum game - by adding just one competitor - induces large behavioral changes among responders and proposers, causing large changes in accepted offers. Models that assume that all people are self-interested and fully rational do not adequately explain these changes. We show that a model which combines heterogeneous fairness concerns with decision errors correctly predicts the comparative static effects of changes in competition. Moreover, the combined model is remarkably good at predicting the entire distribution of offers in many different competitive situations.

Suggested Citation

  • Fischbacher, Urs & Fong, Christina M. & Fehr, Ernst, 2009. "Fairness, errors and the power of competition," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 72(1), pages 527-545, October.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:jeborg:v:72:y:2009:i:1:p:527-545
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    Cited by:

    1. Breitmoser, Yves & Tan, Jonathan H.W., 2013. "Reference dependent altruism in demand bargaining," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 92(C), pages 127-140.
    2. Berentsen Aleksander & Rocheteau Guillaume, 2003. "On the Friedman Rule in Search Models with Divisible Money," The B.E. Journal of Macroeconomics, De Gruyter, vol. 3(1), pages 1-21, December.
    3. Antonio Cabrales & Gary Charness & Marie Villeval, 2011. "Hidden information, bargaining power, and efficiency: an experiment," Experimental Economics, Springer;Economic Science Association, vol. 14(2), pages 133-159, May.
    4. Cabrales, Antonio & Charness, Gary & Villeval, Marie Claire, 2006. "Competition, Hidden Information and Efficiency: An Experiment," IZA Discussion Papers 2296, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    5. Rebitzer, James B. & Taylor, Lowell J., 2011. "Extrinsic Rewards and Intrinsic Motives: Standard and Behavioral Approaches to Agency and Labor Markets," Handbook of Labor Economics, Elsevier.
    6. Aleksander Berentsen & Esther Br�gger & Simon L�rtscher, "undated". "On Cheating and Whistle-Blowing," IEW - Working Papers 153, Institute for Empirical Research in Economics - University of Zurich.
    7. Michael Kosfeld, "undated". "Network Experiments," IEW - Working Papers 152, Institute for Empirical Research in Economics - University of Zurich.
    8. Holger Herz & Dmitry Taubinsky, 2013. "Market experience is a reference point in judgments of fairness," ECON - Working Papers 128, Department of Economics - University of Zurich.
    9. Cox, Caleb A., 2013. "Inequity aversion and advantage seeking with asymmetric competition," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 86(C), pages 121-136.
    10. J. Barkley Rosser Jr & Richard P.F. Holt & David Colander, 2010. "European Economics at a Crossroads," Books, Edward Elgar Publishing, number 13585, April.
    11. Hellberg-Bahr, Anneke & Spiller, Achim, 2012. "How to Treat Farmers Fairly? Results of a Farmer Survey," International Food and Agribusiness Management Review, International Food and Agribusiness Management Association (IFAMA), vol. 15(3).
    12. Barbara Dluhosch, 2011. "European Economics at a Crossroads, by J. Barkley Rosser, Jr., Richard P. F. Holt, and David Colander," Journal of Regional Science, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 51(3), pages 629-631, August.
    13. Bartling Björn & Grieder Manuel & Zehnder Christian, 2014. "Does competition justify inequality?," ECON - Working Papers 158, Department of Economics - University of Zurich, revised Nov 2015.
    14. Güth, Werner & Kocher, Martin G., 2014. "More than thirty years of ultimatum bargaining experiments: Motives, variations, and a survey of the recent literature," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 108(C), pages 396-409.
    15. Björn Bartling & Manuel Grieder & Christian Zehnder, 2014. "Let the Market Decide: An Experimental Study of Competition and Fairness," CESifo Working Paper Series 4831, CESifo Group Munich.
    16. repec:eee:pubeco:v:156:y:2017:i:c:p:34-47 is not listed on IDEAS
    17. Vulkan, Nir & Shem-Tov, Yotam, 2015. "A note on fairness and personalised pricing," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 136(C), pages 179-183.
    18. Cassar, Alessandra & Rigdon, Mary, 2011. "Trust and trustworthiness in networked exchange," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 71(2), pages 282-303, March.
    19. Hsee, Christopher K. & Shen, Luxi & Zhang, Shirley & Chen, Jingqiu & Zhang, Li, 2012. "Fate or fight: Exploring the hedonic costs of competition," Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, Elsevier, vol. 119(2), pages 177-186.
    20. Reuben, Ernesto & van Winden, Frans, 2010. "Fairness perceptions and prosocial emotions in the power to take," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 31(6), pages 908-922, December.
    21. Eckel, Catherine & Gintis, Herbert, 2010. "Blaming the messenger: Notes on the current state of experimental economics," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 73(1), pages 109-119, January.
    22. David Cooper & E. Dutcher, 2011. "The dynamics of responder behavior in ultimatum games: a meta-study," Experimental Economics, Springer;Economic Science Association, vol. 14(4), pages 519-546, November.
    23. Cary Deck & Charles J. Thomas, 2016. "Using Experiments to Compare the Predictive Power of Models of Multilateral Negotiations," Working Papers 16-29, Chapman University, Economic Science Institute.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Competition Fairness Reciprocity Quantal response equilibrium;

    JEL classification:

    • C91 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments - - - Laboratory, Individual Behavior
    • C72 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Game Theory and Bargaining Theory - - - Noncooperative Games
    • D40 - Microeconomics - - Market Structure, Pricing, and Design - - - General

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