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The impact of self-control depletion on social preferences in the ultimatum game

Author

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  • Achtziger, Anja
  • Alós-Ferrer, Carlos
  • Wagner, Alexander K.

Abstract

We study the interaction of different motives and decision processes in determining behavior in the ultimatum game. We rely on an ego-depletion manipulation which consumes self-control resources, thereby enhancing the influence of default reactions, or in psychological terms, automatic processes. Experimental results provide evidence that proposers make higher offers under ego depletion. Based on findings from a closely related dictator game study, which shows that depleted dictators give less than non-depleted ones, we discard the possibility that other-regarding concerns are the default mode. Instead, we conclude that depleted proposers offer more because of a strategic ‘fear of rejection’ of low offers, consistent with self-centered monetary concerns. For responders, ego depletion increases the likelihood to accept offers, in line with unconditional monetary concerns being more automatic than affect-influenced reactions to reject unfair offers.

Suggested Citation

  • Achtziger, Anja & Alós-Ferrer, Carlos & Wagner, Alexander K., 2016. "The impact of self-control depletion on social preferences in the ultimatum game," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 53(C), pages 1-16.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:joepsy:v:53:y:2016:i:c:p:1-16
    DOI: 10.1016/j.joep.2015.12.005
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Kocher, Martin G. & Lucks, Konstantin E. & Schindler, David, 2016. "Unleashing Animal Spirits - Self-Control and Overpricing in Experimental Asset Markets," Discussion Papers in Economics 27572, University of Munich, Department of Economics.
    2. repec:eee:joepsy:v:64:y:2018:i:c:p:1-17 is not listed on IDEAS
    3. Schier, Uta K. & Ockenfels, Axel & Hofmann, Wilhelm, 2016. "Moral values and increasing stakes in a dictator game," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 56(C), pages 107-115.
    4. repec:eee:eecrev:v:100:y:2017:i:c:p:463-487 is not listed on IDEAS
    5. repec:eee:soceco:v:74:y:2018:i:c:p:161-166 is not listed on IDEAS
    6. Marianna Belloc & Ennio Bilancini & Leonardo Boncinelli & Simone D'Alessandro, 2017. "A Social Heuristics Hypothesis for the Stag Hunt: Fast- and Slow-Thinking Hunters in the Lab," CESifo Working Paper Series 6824, CESifo Group Munich.
    7. Ennio Bilancini & Leonardo Boncinelli & Luigi Luini, 2017. "Does Focality Depend on the Mode of Cognition? Experimental Evidence on Pure Coordination Games," Department of Economics University of Siena 771, Department of Economics, University of Siena.
    8. Gerhardt, Holger & Schildberg-Hörisch, Hannah & Willrodt, Jana, 2017. "Does self-control depletion affect risk attitudes?," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 100(C), pages 463-487.
    9. repec:eee:eecrev:v:97:y:2017:i:c:p:57-71 is not listed on IDEAS

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Ultimatum game; Self-control; Ego depletion; Social preferences;

    JEL classification:

    • C78 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Game Theory and Bargaining Theory - - - Bargaining Theory; Matching Theory
    • C91 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments - - - Laboratory, Individual Behavior

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