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A Note on the Ultimatum Paradox, Bounded Rationality, and Uncertainty

  • Thomas Webster

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    The ultimatum game is a sequential-move bargaining game in which a giver offers a taker a share of a monetary pie. The predicted subgame perfect equilibrium in the ultimatum game is for purely rational givers who act in their own narrow self-interest to offer the smallest possible share of a monetary price, and for purely rational takers to accept. Experimental trials suggest, however, that givers make generous offers because they have a taste for fairness. The analysis presented in this paper argues that it is in the best interest of givers of any type to make offers that will not be rejected, and that offers become more generous as a giver’s uncertainty about the taker’s reservation offer increases. Copyright International Atlantic Economic Society 2013

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    File URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10.1007/s11294-012-9382-z
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    Article provided by International Atlantic Economic Society in its journal International Advances in Economic Research.

    Volume (Year): 19 (2013)
    Issue (Month): 1 (February)
    Pages: 1-10

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    Handle: RePEc:kap:iaecre:v:19:y:2013:i:1:p:1-10
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    1. Robert H. Frank & Thomas Gilovich & Dennis T. Regan, 1993. "Does Studying Economics Inhibit Cooperation?," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 7(2), pages 159-171, Spring.
    2. 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.
    3. Kalt, Joseph P & Zupan, Mark A, 1984. "Capture and Ideology in the Economic Theory of Politics," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 74(3), pages 279-300, June.
    4. Zak, Paul J. & Stanton, Angela A. & Ahmadi, Sheila, 2007. "Oxytocin Increases Generosity in Humans," MPRA Paper 5650, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    5. Kahneman, Daniel & Knetsch, Jack L & Thaler, Richard H, 1986. "Fairness and the Assumptions of Economics," The Journal of Business, University of Chicago Press, vol. 59(4), pages S285-300, October.
    6. John R. Carter & Michael D. Irons, 1991. "Are Economists Different, and If So, Why?," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 5(2), pages 171-177, Spring.
    7. Colin F. Camerer & Richard H. Thaler, 1995. "Anomalies: Ultimatums, Dictators and Manners," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 9(2), pages 209-219, Spring.
    8. Colin Camerer & Richard H. Thaler, 2003. "In Honor of Matthew Rabin: Winner of the John Bates Clark Medal," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 17(3), pages 159-176, Summer.
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