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Information acquisition in the ultimatum game: An experimental study

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  • Anders Poulsen

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  • Jonathan Tan

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Abstract

We experimentally investigate if free information disadvantages a player relative to when information is unavailable. We study an Ultimatum game where the Proposer, before making an offer, can obtain free information about the Responder's minimum acceptable offer. Theoretically, the Proposer should obtain the information and play a best reply to the Responder's minimum acceptable offer. Thus the Responder should get the largest share of the surplus. We find that an increasing number of Proposers become informed over time. Moreover, the proportion of Proposers who use the information to maximize money earnings increases over time. The majority of information-acquiring Proposers, however, refuse to offer more than one-half and play a best reply only to Responders who accept offers of one-half or less. This, together with a substantial proportion of Proposers who choose to remain uninformed, means that the availability of free information backfires for Proposers only by a little. Copyright Economic Science Association 2007

Suggested Citation

  • Anders Poulsen & Jonathan Tan, 2007. "Information acquisition in the ultimatum game: An experimental study," Experimental Economics, Springer;Economic Science Association, vol. 10(4), pages 391-409, December.
  • Handle: RePEc:kap:expeco:v:10:y:2007:i:4:p:391-409
    DOI: 10.1007/s10683-006-9143-z
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Silvia Dominguez-Martinez & Randolph Sloof & Ferdinand von Siemens, 2010. "Monitoring your Friends, not your Foes: Strategic Ignorance and the Delegation of Real Authority," CESifo Working Paper Series 3172, CESifo Group Munich.
    2. Conrads, Julian & Irlenbusch, Bernd, 2011. "Strategic Ignorance in Bargaining," IZA Discussion Papers 6087, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    3. Mohamed I. Gomaa & Stuart Mestelman & Mohamed Shehata, 2014. "Social Distance, Reputation, Risk Attitude, Value Orientation and Equity in Economic Exchanges," Department of Economics Working Papers 2014-07, McMaster University.
    4. Anders Poulsen & Michael Roos, 2010. "Do people make strategic commitments? Experimental evidence on strategic information avoidance," Experimental Economics, Springer;Economic Science Association, vol. 13(2), pages 206-225, June.
    5. Poulsen, Anders, 2007. "Learning to Make Strategic Moves: Experimental Evidence," MPRA Paper 10927, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    6. Anders U. Poulsen & Michael V. M. Roos, 2009. "Do People Make Strategic Moves? Experimental Evidence on Strategic Information Avoidance," Discussion Papers 09-06, University of Copenhagen. Department of Economics.
    7. Dominguez-Martinez, Silvia & Sloof, Randolph & von Siemens, Ferdinand A., 2014. "Monitored by your friends, not your foes: Strategic ignorance and the delegation of real authority," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 85(C), pages 289-305.
    8. Conrads, Julian & Irlenbusch, Bernd, 2013. "Strategic ignorance in ultimatum bargaining," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 92(C), pages 104-115.

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