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Outcomes versus intentions: On the nature of fair behavior and its development with age

  • Sutter, Matthias

Economic decisions depend on both actual outcomes as well as perceived intentions. In this paper, we examine whether and how the relative importance of outcomes or intentions for economic decisions develops with age. We report the results of ultimatum games with children, teens and university students. We find that children and teens react systematically to perceived intentions, like university students do. However, children and teens reject unequal offers much more often than university students, indicating that outcomes are relatively more important than intentions for younger subjects. Hence, the relative importance of intentions increases with age.

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File URL: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0167-4870(06)00087-0
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Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Journal of Economic Psychology.

Volume (Year): 28 (2007)
Issue (Month): 1 (January)
Pages: 69-78

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Handle: RePEc:eee:joepsy:v:28:y:2007:i:1:p:69-78
Contact details of provider: Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/joep

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  1. Gary E. Bolton & Axel Ockenfels, 2002. "A stress test of fairness measures in models of social utility," Papers on Strategic Interaction 2002-29, Max Planck Institute of Economics, Strategic Interaction Group.
  2. Ernst Fehr & Klaus M. Schmidt, 1999. "A Theory of Fairness, Competition, and Cooperation," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 114(3), pages 817-868.
  3. McCabe, Kevin A. & Rigdon, Mary L. & Smith, Vernon L., 2003. "Positive reciprocity and intentions in trust games," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 52(2), pages 267-275, October.
  4. Charness, Gary B & Rabin, Matthew, 2001. "Understanding Social Preferences With Simple Tests," University of California at Santa Barbara, Economics Working Paper Series qt0dc3k4m5, Department of Economics, UC Santa Barbara.
  5. Murnighan, J. Keith & Saxon, Michael Scott, 1998. "Ultimatum bargaining by children and adults," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 19(4), pages 415-445, August.
  6. Carsten Schmidt & Matthias Sutter & Werner Guth, 2003. "Fairness in the mail and opportunism in the internet - a newspaper experiment on ultimatum bargaining," Artefactual Field Experiments 00051, The Field Experiments Website.
  7. Falk, Armin & Fischbacher, Urs, 2006. "A theory of reciprocity," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 54(2), pages 293-315, February.
  8. Margin Dufwenberg & Georg Kirchsteiger, 2001. "A Theory of Sequential Reciprocity," Levine's Working Paper Archive 563824000000000090, David K. Levine.
  9. Armin Falk & Ernst Fehr & Urs Fischbacher, 2003. "On the Nature of Fair Behavior," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 41(1), pages 20-26, January.
  10. Charness, Gary & Levine, David I., 2003. "The Road to Hell: An Experimental Study of Intentions," University of California at Santa Barbara, Economics Working Paper Series qt4xs9d0nz, Department of Economics, UC Santa Barbara.
  11. Rabin, Matthew, 1993. "Incorporating Fairness into Game Theory and Economics," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 83(5), pages 1281-1302, December.
  12. Nelson, William Jr., 2002. "Equity or intention: it is the thought that counts," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 48(4), pages 423-430, August.
  13. Burnham, Terence & McCabe, Kevin & Smith, Vernon L., 2000. "Friend-or-foe intentionality priming in an extensive form trust game," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 43(1), pages 57-73, September.
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