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A theory of fairness, competition, and cooperation

  • Fehr, Ernst
  • Schmidt, Klaus M.

There is strong evidence that people exploit their bargaining power in competitive markets but not in bilateral bargaining situations. There is also strong evidence that people exploit free-riding opportunities in voluntary cooperation games. Yet, when they are given the opportunity to punish free riders, stable cooperation is maintained, although punishment is costly for those who punish. This paper asks whether there is a simple common principle that can explain this puzzling evidence. We show that if some people care about equity the puzzles can be resolved. It turns out that the economic environment determines whether the fair types or the selfish types dominate equilibrium behavior.

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This chapter was published in: Fehr, Ernst & Schmidt, Klaus M. , , pages , .
This item is provided by University of Munich, Department of Economics in its series Chapters in Economics with number 20658.
Handle: RePEc:lmu:muench:20658
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  6. 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.
  7. Tversky, Amos & Kahneman, Daniel, 1991. "Loss Aversion in Riskless Choice: A Reference-Dependent Model," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 106(4), pages 1039-61, November.
  8. Agell, Jonas & Lundborg, Per, 1993. "Theories of Pay and Unemployment: Survey Evidence from Swedish Manufacturing Firms," Working Paper Series 380, Research Institute of Industrial Economics.
  9. Ockenfels, Axel & Weimann, Joachim, 1999. "Types and patterns: an experimental East-West-German comparison of cooperation and solidarity," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 71(2), pages 275-287, February.
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  16. Kachelmeier, Steven J. & Shehata, Mohamed, 1992. "Culture and competition: A laboratory market comparison between China and the West," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 19(2), pages 145-168, October.
  17. 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.
  18. R. M. Isaac & J. M. Walker, 2010. "Group size effects in public goods provision: The voluntary contribution mechanism," Levine's Working Paper Archive 310, David K. Levine.
  19. Josef Falkinger & Ernst Fehr & Simon Gaechter, . "A Simple Mechanism for the Efficient Provision of Public Goods - Experimental Evidence," IEW - Working Papers 003, Institute for Empirical Research in Economics - University of Zurich.
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  21. Burlando, Roberto & Hey, John D., 1997. "Do Anglo-Saxons free-ride more?," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 64(1), pages 41-60, April.
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