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What ethics can learn from experimental economics -- If anything

Listed author(s):
  • Güth, Werner
  • Kliemt, Hartmut

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.

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Article provided by Elsevier in its journal European Journal of Political Economy.

Volume (Year): 26 (2010)
Issue (Month): 3 (September)
Pages: 302-310

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Handle: RePEc:eee:poleco:v:26:y:2010:i:3:p:302-310
Contact details of provider: Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/inca/505544

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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. S. Huck & J. Oechssler, 1996. "The Indirect Evolutionary Approach To Explaining Fair Allocations," SFB 373 Discussion Papers 1996,13, Humboldt University of Berlin, Interdisciplinary Research Project 373: Quantification and Simulation of Economic Processes.
  3. Werner Güth & Carsten Schmidt & Matthias Sutter, 2005. "Bargaining Outside the Lab – A Newspaper Experiment of a Three-Person Ultimatum Game," Papers on Strategic Interaction 2002-11, Max Planck Institute of Economics, Strategic Interaction Group.
  4. Güth, Werner & Kliemt, Hartmut & Ockenfels, Axel, 2001. "Retributive responses," SFB 373 Discussion Papers 2001,11, Humboldt University of Berlin, Interdisciplinary Research Project 373: Quantification and Simulation of Economic Processes.
  5. Werner Güth & M. Vittoria Levati & Axel Ockenfels & Torsten Weiland, 2005. ""Buying a pig in a poke": An experimental study of unconditional veto power," Papers on Strategic Interaction 2005-39, Max Planck Institute of Economics, Strategic Interaction Group.
  6. Sushil Bikhchandani & David Hirshleifer & Ivo Welch, 2010. "A theory of Fads, Fashion, Custom and cultural change as informational Cascades," Levine's Working Paper Archive 1193, David K. Levine.
  7. Manski, Charles F., 2002. "Identification of decision rules in experiments on simple games of proposal and response," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 46(4-5), pages 880-891, May.
  8. Güth, Werner & Schmidt, Carsten & Sutter, Matthias, 2001. "Fairness in the mail and opportunism in the internet: A newspaper experiment on ultimatum bargaining," SFB 373 Discussion Papers 2001,42, Humboldt University of Berlin, Interdisciplinary Research Project 373: Quantification and Simulation of Economic Processes.
  9. Werner Güth & M. Vittoria Levati, 2007. "Listen: I am angry! An experiment comparing ways of revealing emotions," Jena Economic Research Papers 2007-096, Friedrich-Schiller-University Jena.
  10. Bolton, Gary E. & Brandts, Jordi & Katok, Elena & Ockenfels, Axel & Zwick, Rami, 2008. "Testing Theories of Other-regarding Behavior: A Sequence of Four Laboratory Studies," Handbook of Experimental Economics Results, Elsevier.
  11. Henrich, Joseph & Boyd, Robert & Bowles, Samuel & Camerer, Colin & Fehr, Ernst & Gintis, Herbert (ed.), 2004. "Foundations of Human Sociality: Economic Experiments and Ethnographic Evidence from Fifteen Small-Scale Societies," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780199262052.
  12. Kliemt, Hartmut, 1994. "The Calculus of Consent after Thirty Years," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 79(3-4), pages 341-353, June.
  13. Suleiman, Ramzi, 1996. "Expectations and fairness in a modified Ultimatum game," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 17(5), pages 531-554, November.
  14. Chen, Kang & Tang, Fang-Fang, 2009. "Cultural differences between Tibetans and ethnic Han Chinese in ultimatum bargaining experiments," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 25(1), pages 78-84, March.
  15. Steven D. Levitt & John A. List, 2007. "What Do Laboratory Experiments Measuring Social Preferences Reveal About the Real World?," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 21(2), pages 153-174, Spring.
  16. Guth, Werner & Schmittberger, Rolf & Schwarze, Bernd, 1982. "An experimental analysis of ultimatum bargaining," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 3(4), pages 367-388, December.
  17. Erte Xiao & Daniel Houser, 2005. "Emotion expression in human punishment behavior," Experimental 0504003, EconWPA, revised 18 May 2005.
  18. Bergh, Andreas, 2008. "A critical note on the theory of inequity aversion," Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics (formerly The Journal of Socio-Economics), Elsevier, vol. 37(5), pages 1789-1796, October.
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