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Sex Differences in the Ultimatum Game: An Evolutionary Psychology Perspective

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  • Gad Saad

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  • Tripat Gill

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Abstract

In the two-person ultimatum game, an allocator is required to split a given sum of money with a recipient. Subsequently the recipient can either accept or reject the offer. If it is accepted, both players receive their respective splits, while if it is rejected neither of them get anything. Using evolutionary psychology as the theoretical framework, we predicted and found that males made more generous offers when pitted against a female as opposed to a male. While females made equal offers independently of the sex of the recipient. That male allocators are altruistic towards female recipients and competitive with male recipients is construed as a manifestation of social rules, which evolve from the male pre-disposition to use resources for attracting mates. In contrast, females have not evolved such a pre-disposition, and thus, female allocators are more concerned about fairness when making offers to recipients. Several alternate explanations of the above findings are discussed and the evolutionary explanation is concluded as the most parsimonious one. Other potential moderators that are amenable to evolutionary explanations, namely, physical attractiveness, age and ethnicity of participants, are also discussed in this context. Copyright Kluwer Academic Publishers 2001

Suggested Citation

  • Gad Saad & Tripat Gill, 2001. "Sex Differences in the Ultimatum Game: An Evolutionary Psychology Perspective," Journal of Bioeconomics, Springer, vol. 3(2), pages 171-193, May.
  • Handle: RePEc:kap:jbioec:v:3:y:2001:i:2:p:171-193
    DOI: 10.1023/A:1020583425623
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Güth, Werner & Kocher, Martin G., 2014. "More than thirty years of ultimatum bargaining experiments: Motives, variations, and a survey of the recent literature," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 108(C), pages 396-409.
    2. Dittrich, Dennis A.V. & Büchner, Susanne & Kulesz, Micaela M., 2015. "Dynamic repeated random dictatorship and gender discrimination," Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics (formerly The Journal of Socio-Economics), Elsevier, vol. 55(C), pages 81-90.
    3. Shuwen Li & Xiandong Qin & Daniel Houser, 2017. "Revisiting Gender Differences in Ultimatum Bargaining: Experimental Evidence from the US and China," Working Papers 1064, George Mason University, Interdisciplinary Center for Economic Science.
    4. Robert Böhm & Tobias Regner, 2013. "Charitable giving among females and males: an empirical test of the competitive altruism hypothesis," Journal of Bioeconomics, Springer, vol. 15(3), pages 251-267, October.
    5. Fiedler, Marina & Haruvy, Ernan & Li, Sherry Xin, 2011. "Social distance in a virtual world experiment," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 72(2), pages 400-426, June.
    6. García-Gallego, Aurora & Georgantzís, Nikolaos & Jaramillo-Gutiérrez, Ainhoa, 2012. "Gender differences in ultimatum games: Despite rather than due to risk attitudes," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 83(1), pages 42-49.
    7. D. Di Cagno & A. Galliera & W. Güth & N. Pace & L. Panaccione, 2016. "Make-up and suspicion in bargaining with cheap talk: An experiment controlling for gender and gender constellation," Theory and Decision, Springer, vol. 80(3), pages 463-471, March.
    8. Ainhoa Jaramillo Gutiérrez & Nikolaos Georgantzis & Aurora García Gallego & Miguel Ginés Vilar, 2007. "Cultural And Risk-Related Determinants Of Gender Differences In Ultimatum Bargaining," Working Papers. Serie AD 2007-08, Instituto Valenciano de Investigaciones Económicas, S.A. (Ivie).

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