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What ethics can learn from experimental economics -- If anything

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  • Güth, Werner
  • Kliemt, Hartmut

Abstract

Relying on the specific example of ultimatum bargaining experiments this paper explores the possible role of empirical knowledge of behavioural "norm(ative) facts" within the search for (W)RE -- (Wide) Reflective Equilibria on normative issues. Assuming that "pro-social" behaviour "reveals" moral orientations, it is argued that these "norm-facts" can and should be used along with stated preferences in justificatory arguments of normative ethics and economics of the "means to given ends" variety. At the same time behavioural norm-facts are so heterogeneous that any hopes to reach an inter-personally agreed (W)RE in matters moral seem futile.

Suggested Citation

  • Güth, Werner & Kliemt, Hartmut, 2010. "What ethics can learn from experimental economics -- If anything," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 26(3), pages 302-310, September.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:poleco:v:26:y:2010:i:3:p:302-310
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    References listed on IDEAS

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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. Huck, Steffen & Oechssler, Jorg, 1999. "The Indirect Evolutionary Approach to Explaining Fair Allocations," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 28(1), pages 13-24, July.
    3. Werner Güth & Carsten Schmidt & Matthias Sutter, 2007. "Bargaining outside the lab - a newspaper experiment of a three-person ultimatum game," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 117(518), pages 449-469, March.
    4. Werner Güth & Hartmut Kliemt & Axel Ockenfels, 2001. "Retributive Responses," Journal of Conflict Resolution, Peace Science Society (International), vol. 45(4), pages 453-469, August.
    5. Gehrig, Thomas & Guth, Werner & Levati, Vittoria & Levinsky, Rene & Ockenfels, Axel & Uske, Tobias & Weiland, Torsten, 2007. "Buying a pig in a poke: An experimental study of unconditional veto power," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 28(6), pages 692-703, December.
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    8. Werner Güth & Carsten Schmidt & Matthias Sutter, 2003. "Fairness in the Mail and Opportunism in the Internet: A Newspaper Experiment on Ultimatum Bargaining," German Economic Review, Verein für Socialpolitik, vol. 4(2), pages 243-265, May.
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    Cited by:

    1. Christian Schubert, 2012. "Is novelty always a good thing? Towards an evolutionary welfare economics," Journal of Evolutionary Economics, Springer, vol. 22(3), pages 585-619, July.
    2. Werner Güth, 2009. "Optimal gelaufen, einfach zufrieden oder unüberlegt gehandelt? Zur Theorie (un)eingeschränkt rationalen Entscheidens," Perspektiven der Wirtschaftspolitik, Verein für Socialpolitik, vol. 10(s1), pages 75-100, May.
    3. Mejía Cubillos, Javier, 2012. "Ética y Justicia. Reflexiones a partir de The Idea of Justice de Amartya Sen
      [Ethics and justice. Reflections on The Idea of ​​Justice by Amartya Sen]
      ," MPRA Paper 37458, University Library of Munich, Germany.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Meta-ethics Experimental economics Methods of ethics (null) Reflective equilibrium;

    JEL classification:

    • D64 - Microeconomics - - Welfare Economics - - - Altruism; Philanthropy; Intergenerational Transfers
    • D7 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making
    • K00 - Law and Economics - - General - - - General (including Data Sources and Description)
    • Z13 - Other Special Topics - - Cultural Economics - - - Economic Sociology; Economic Anthropology; Language; Social and Economic Stratification

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