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Expressed Preferences and Behavior in Experimental Games

  • Charness, Gary B
  • Rabin, Matthew

Participants in experimental games typically can only choose actions, without making comments about other participants’ future actions. In sequential two-person games, we allow first movers to express a preference between responder choices. We find that responder behavior differs substantially according to whether first movers express a hope for favorable or unfavorable treatment. Responders largely ignore first movers’ expressed preferences for favorable responses, however, when the first movers misbehave. As in earlier experiments without preference expression, subjects assign a high positive weight to another person’s payoffs when ahead and misbehavior elicits a strong negative response. Logit regressions estimate the weight placed on another (non-misbehaving) person’s payoffs to be positive, even when one is behind. There is suggestive evidence that positive reciprocity is enhanced when a preference for favorable treatment is expressed.

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Paper provided by Department of Economics, UC Santa Barbara in its series University of California at Santa Barbara, Economics Working Paper Series with number qt153590pb.

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Date of creation: 15 Jun 2004
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:cdl:ucsbec:qt153590pb
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  1. Charness, Gary B, 1999. "Responsibility And Effort In An Experimental Labor Market," University of California at Santa Barbara, Economics Working Paper Series qt7x98w91h, Department of Economics, UC Santa Barbara.
  2. Dufwenberg, Martin & Gneezy, Uri, 2000. "Measuring Beliefs in an Experimental Lost Wallet Game," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 30(2), pages 163-182, February.
  3. Fehr, Ernst & Klein, Alexander & Schmidt, Klaus M., 2001. "Fairness, Incentives and Contractual Incompleteness," Discussion Papers in Economics 18, University of Munich, Department of Economics.
  4. Georg Kirchsteiger & Ernst Fehr & Arno Riedl, 1993. "Does Fairness Prevent Market Clearing? An Experimental Investigation," ULB Institutional Repository 2013/5927, ULB -- Universite Libre de Bruxelles.
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  10. Charness, Gary B & Rabin, Matthew, 2001. "Understanding Social Preferences With Simple Tests," University of California at Santa Barbara, Economics Working Paper Series qt0dc3k4m5, Department of Economics, UC Santa Barbara.
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  18. R. Lynn Hannan & John H. Kagel & Donald V. Moser, 2002. "Partial Gift Exchange in an Experimental Labor Market: Impact of Subject Population Differences, Productivity Differences, and Effort Requests on Behavior," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 20(4), pages 923-951, October.
  19. Fehr, Ernst & Schmidt, Klaus M., 1999. "A theory of fairness, competition, and cooperation," Munich Reprints in Economics 20650, University of Munich, Department of Economics.
  20. Brandts, Jordi & Sola, Carles, 2001. "Reference Points and Negative Reciprocity in Simple Sequential Games," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 36(2), pages 138-157, August.
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  28. Charness, Gary B, 2004. "Attribution And Reciprocity In An Experimental Labor Market," University of California at Santa Barbara, Economics Working Paper Series qt8rp6b18c, Department of Economics, UC Santa Barbara.
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