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Does Impartial Deliberation Breed Fair Behavior?


  • Tore Ellingsen


  • Magnus Johannesson



We experimentally test whether impartial deliberation leads to stronger concern for fairness in bargaining. In the experiment a seller can invest some of his/her time in order to generate potential gains from trade with a buyer. Conditional on investment the seller proposes how to split the gain. The buyer either accepts or rejects the seller’s offer. To vary the degree of impartiality, subjects are assigned to their roles as sellers or buyers either before (the ‘subjective group’) or after (the ‘objective group’) they read the instructions. We find that the relationship between the perceived investment cost and the bargaining proposal is significantly stronger in the objective group. This suggests that sellers in the objective group are more preoccupied with setting a fair price.

Suggested Citation

  • Tore Ellingsen & Magnus Johannesson, 2005. "Does Impartial Deliberation Breed Fair Behavior?," Rationality and Society, , vol. 17(1), pages 116-136, February.
  • Handle: RePEc:sae:ratsoc:v:17:y:2005:i:1:p:116-136

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