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Individual versus group behavior and the role of the decision making procedure in gift-exchange experiments

  • Martin Kocher


  • Matthias Sutter

We test for behavioral differences between groups and individuals in gift-exchange experiments. Related studies establish group behavior as typically closer to the game-theoretic equilibrium. We show that this result may depend crucially on the decision making procedure within groups. A novel decision making protocol opens up the black box of group decision making and allows to track important features of the group interaction process. We are able to show that the mere fact of being a group member shifts initial individual choices towards the game-theoretic equilibrium.

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Article provided by Springer in its journal Empirica.

Volume (Year): 34 (2007)
Issue (Month): 1 (March)
Pages: 63-88

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Handle: RePEc:kap:empiri:v:34:y:2007:i:1:p:63-88
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  1. Ernst Fehr & Simon G�chter, 2000. "Fairness and Retaliation: The Economics of Reciprocity," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 14(3), pages 159-181, Summer.
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  5. Kocher, Martin G. & Sutter, Matthias, 2005. "The decision maker matters: Individual versus group behaviour in experimental beauty-contest games," Munich Reprints in Economics 18213, University of Munich, Department of Economics.
  6. Bone, John & Hey, John & Suckling, John, 1999. "Are Groups More (or Less) Consistent Than Individuals?," Journal of Risk and Uncertainty, Springer, vol. 18(1), pages 63-81, April.
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  9. Martin Kocher & Sabine Strauß & Matthias Sutter, 2004. "Individual or team decision-making - Causes and consequences of self-selection," Papers on Strategic Interaction 2004-31, Max Planck Institute of Economics, Strategic Interaction Group.
  10. Fehr, Ernst & Kirchsteiger, Georg & Riedl, Arno, 1995. "Gift Exchange and Reciprocity in Competitive Experimental Markets," Economics Series 14, Institute for Advanced Studies.
  11. R. Lynn Hannan & John H. Kagel & Donald V. Moser, 2002. "Partial Gift Exchange in an Experimental Labor Market: Impact of Subject Population Differences, Productivity Differences, and Effort Requests on Behavior," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 20(4), pages 923-951, October.
  12. Matthias Sutter & Martin Kocher & Sabine Strau?, . "Individuals and teams in UMTS-license auctions," Working Papers 2007-23, Faculty of Economics and Statistics, University of Innsbruck.
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  18. David J. Cooper & John H. Kagel, 2005. "Are Two Heads Better Than One? Team versus Individual Play in Signaling Games," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 95(3), pages 477-509, June.
  19. Ronald Bosman & Heike Hennig-Schmidt & Frans vanWinden, 2002. "Exploring Group Behavior in a Power-to-Take Video Experiment," Bonn Econ Discussion Papers bgse7_2002, University of Bonn, Germany, revised May 2002.
  20. Martin Kocher & Ronald Bosman & Matthias Sutter & Frans van Winden, 2004. "Experimental Evidence Of The Importance Of Gender Pairing In Bargaining," Royal Economic Society Annual Conference 2004 78, Royal Economic Society.
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  26. Gary Bornstein & Matthias Sutter & Tamar Kugler & Martin G. Kocher, . "Trust between individuals and groups: Groups are less rusting than individuals but just as trustworthy," Papers on Strategic Interaction 2005-02, Max Planck Institute of Economics, Strategic Interaction Group.
  27. Eckel, Catherine C & Grossman, Philip J, 1998. "Are Women Less Selfish Than Men? Evidence from Dictator Experiments," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 108(448), pages 726-35, May.
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  29. Fehr, Ernst, et al, 1998. "When Social Norms Overpower Competition: Gift Exchange in Experimental Labor Markets," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 16(2), pages 324-51, April.
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