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Inequality Aversion and Reciprocity in Moonlighting Games

  • Dirk Engelmann

    (Department of Economics, University of Mannheim,L7, 3-5, 68131 Mannheim, Germany
    Centre for Experimental Economics, University of Copenhagen, Øster Farimagsgade 5, 1353 København K, Denmark
    Economics Institute of the Academy of Sciences of the Czech Republic, P.O. Box 882 Politickych veznu 7, 111 21 Praha 1, Czech Republic)

  • Martin Strobel

    ()

    (Department of Economics, Maastricht University, P.O. Box 616, 6200 MD Maastricht, The Netherlands)

We study behavior in a moonlighting game with unequal initial endowments. In this game, predictions for second-mover behavior based on inequality aversion are in contrast to reciprocity. We find that inequality aversion explains only few observations. The comparison to a treatment with equal endowments supports the conclusion that behavior is better captured by intuitive notions of reciprocity than by inequality aversion. Extending the model by allowing for alternative reference points promises better performance, but leads to other problems. We conclude that the fact that inequality aversion often works as a good short-hand for reciprocity is driven by biased design choices.

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Article provided by MDPI, Open Access Journal in its journal Games.

Volume (Year): 1 (2010)
Issue (Month): 4 (October)
Pages: 459-477

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Handle: RePEc:gam:jgames:v:1:y:2010:i:4:p:459-477:d:9946
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  1. 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.
  2. Falk, Armin & Fehr, Ernst & Fischbacher, Urs, 2008. "Testing theories of fairness--Intentions matter," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 62(1), pages 287-303, January.
  3. Margin Dufwenberg & Georg Kirchsteiger, 2001. "A Theory of Sequential Reciprocity," Levine's Working Paper Archive 563824000000000090, David K. Levine.
  4. Armin Falk & Urs Fischbacher, 2001. "A Theory of Reciprocity," CESifo Working Paper Series 457, CESifo Group Munich.
  5. Dirk Engelmann & Martin Strobel, 2004. "Inequality Aversion, Efficiency, and Maximin Preferences in Simple Distribution Experiments," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 94(4), pages 857-869, September.
  6. Fehr, Ernst & Schmidt, Klaus M., 1999. "A theory of fairness, competition, and cooperation," Munich Reprints in Economics 20650, University of Munich, Department of Economics.
  7. Abbink, Klaus & Irlenbusch, Bernd & Renner, Elke, 2000. "The moonlighting game: An experimental study on reciprocity and retribution," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 42(2), pages 265-277, June.
  8. Cox, James C., 2004. "How to identify trust and reciprocity," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 46(2), pages 260-281, February.
  9. Urs Fischbacher, 2007. "z-Tree: Zurich toolbox for ready-made economic experiments," Experimental Economics, Springer, vol. 10(2), pages 171-178, June.
  10. Berg Joyce & Dickhaut John & McCabe Kevin, 1995. "Trust, Reciprocity, and Social History," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 10(1), pages 122-142, July.
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