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On the Nature of Fair Behavior

  • Armin Falk

    ()

    (University of Zurich, Institute for Empirical Research in Economics, Bluemlisalpstreasse 10, CH-8006 Zurich, Switzerland.)

  • Ernst Fehr

    ()

    (University of Zurich, Institute for Empirical Research in Economics, Bluemlisalpstreasse 10, CH-8006 Zurich, Switzerland.)

  • Urs Fischbacher

    ()

    (Institute for Empirical Research in Economics, Bluemlisalpstreasse 10, CH-8006 Zurich, Switzerland.)

This article shows that identical offers in an ultimatum game generate systematically different rejection rates depending on the other offers that are available to the proposer. This result casts doubt on the consequentialist practice in economics to define the utility of an action solely in terms of the consequences of the action irrespective of the set of alternatives. It means in particular that negatively reciprocal behavior cannot be fully captured by equity models that are exclusively based on preferences over the distribution of material payoffs. Copyright 2003, Oxford University Press.

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Article provided by Western Economic Association International in its journal Economic Inquiry.

Volume (Year): 41 (2003)
Issue (Month): 1 (January)
Pages: 20-26

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Handle: RePEc:oup:ecinqu:v:41:y:2003:i:1:p:20-26
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  1. Dufwenberg, M. & Kirchsteiger, G., 1998. "A Theory of Sequential Reciprocity," Discussion Paper 1998-37, Tilburg University, Center for Economic Research.
  2. Fehr, Ernst & Schmidt, Klaus M., 1999. "A theory of fairness, competition, and cooperation," Munich Reprints in Economics 20650, University of Munich, Department of Economics.
  3. M. Rabin, 2001. "Incorporating Fairness into Game Theory and Economics," Levine's Working Paper Archive 511, David K. Levine.
  4. Gary Charness, 1996. "Attribution and reciprocity in a simulated labor market: An experimental investigation," Economics Working Papers 283, Department of Economics and Business, Universitat Pompeu Fabra, revised Oct 1997.
  5. Berg Joyce & Dickhaut John & McCabe Kevin, 1995. "Trust, Reciprocity, and Social History," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 10(1), pages 122-142, July.
  6. Falk, Armin & Fischbacher, Urs, 2006. "A theory of reciprocity," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 54(2), pages 293-315, February.
  7. Urs Fischbacher, 2007. "z-Tree: Zurich toolbox for ready-made economic experiments," Experimental Economics, Springer, vol. 10(2), pages 171-178, June.
  8. Güth, Werner & Huck, Steffen & Müller, Wieland, 1998. "The relevance of equal splits: On a behavioral discontinuity in ultimatum games," SFB 373 Discussion Papers 1998,7, Humboldt University of Berlin, Interdisciplinary Research Project 373: Quantification and Simulation of Economic Processes.
  9. Axel Ockenfels & Gary E. Bolton, 2000. "ERC: A Theory of Equity, Reciprocity, and Competition," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 90(1), pages 166-193, March.
  10. Jordi Brandts & Gary Charness, 1998. "Hot vs. cold: Sequential responses and preference stability in experimental games," Economics Working Papers 321, Department of Economics and Business, Universitat Pompeu Fabra.
  11. Bolton, G.E. & Brandts, J. & Ockenfels, A., 1997. "Measuring Motivations for the Reciprocal Responses Observed in a Simple Dilemma Game," UFAE and IAE Working Papers 400.97, Unitat de Fonaments de l'Anàlisi Econòmica (UAB) and Institut d'Anàlisi Econòmica (CSIC).
  12. Glenn W. Harrison & Jack Hirshleifer, 1988. "An Experimental Evaluation of Weakest-Link/Best Shot Models of Public Goods," UCLA Economics Working Papers 473, UCLA Department of Economics.
  13. Timothy N. Cason & Vai-Lam Mui, 1998. "Social Influence in the Sequential Dictator Game," Monash Economics Working Papers archive-37, Monash University, Department of Economics.
  14. V. Prasnikar & A. Roth, 1998. "Considerations of fairness and strategy: experimental data from sequential games," Levine's Working Paper Archive 451, David K. Levine.
  15. Lisa Cameron, 1995. "Raising the Stakes in the Ultimatum Game: Experimental Evidence From Indonesia," Working Papers 724, Princeton University, Department of Economics, Industrial Relations Section..
  16. 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.
  17. Ernst Fehr & Simon Gachter & Georg Kirchsteiger, 1997. "Reciprocity as a Contract Enforcement Device: Experimental Evidence," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 65(4), pages 833-860, July.
  18. Brandts, J. & Sola, C., 1998. "Reference Points and Negative Reciprocity in Simple Sequential Games," UFAE and IAE Working Papers 425.98, Unitat de Fonaments de l'Anàlisi Econòmica (UAB) and Institut d'Anàlisi Econòmica (CSIC).
  19. 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.
  20. Gary E Bolton & Axel Ockenfels, 1997. "A Theory of Equity, Reciprocity, and Competition," Levine's Working Paper Archive 1889, David K. Levine.
  21. Campbell, Carl M, III & Kamlani, Kunal S, 1997. "The Reasons for Wage Rigidity: Evidence from a Survey of Firms," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 112(3), pages 759-89, August.
  22. Alvin E. Roth & V. Prasnikar & M. Okuno-Fujiwara & S. Zamir, 1998. "Bargaining and market behavior in Jerusalem, Liubljana, Pittsburgh and Tokyo: an experimental study," Levine's Working Paper Archive 344, David K. Levine.
  23. Blount, Sally, 1995. "When Social Outcomes Aren't Fair: The Effect of Causal Attributions on Preferences," Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, Elsevier, vol. 63(2), pages 131-144, August.
  24. Ernst Fehr & Armin Falk, 2003. "Wage Rigidity in a Competitive Incomplete Contract Market," Labor and Demography 0305001, EconWPA.
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