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  • Friedel Bolle

    () (European University Viadrina)

  • Jonathan H.W. Tan

    () (University of Nottingham)

  • Daniel John Zizzo

    () (University of East Anglia)


Vendettas occur in many real world settings where rivals compete for a prize, e.g., winning an election or a competitive promotion, by engaging in retaliatory aggressive behavior. We present a benchmark experiment where two players have an initial probability of winning a prize. Retaliatory vendettas occur and lead agents to the worst possible outcomes in 60% to 80% of cases, counter to self interest predictions, and regardless of whether initial winning probabilities are equal or unequal. Negative emotions are important and interact with economic settings to produce large social inefficiencies. Venting emotions predicts aggression but also reduces it.

Suggested Citation

  • Friedel Bolle & Jonathan H.W. Tan & Daniel John Zizzo, 2010. "Vendettas," Discussion Papers 2010-02, The Centre for Decision Research and Experimental Economics, School of Economics, University of Nottingham.
  • Handle: RePEc:cdx:dpaper:2010-02

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Yves Breitmoser & Jonathan Tan & Daniel Zizzo, 2010. "Understanding perpetual R&D races," Economic Theory, Springer;Society for the Advancement of Economic Theory (SAET), vol. 44(3), pages 445-467, September.
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    7. Tan, Jonathan H.W. & Bolle, Friedel, 2007. "Team competition and the public goods game," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 96(1), pages 133-139, July.
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    More about this item


    trust; income inequality; market; social capital;

    JEL classification:

    • C91 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments - - - Laboratory, Individual Behavior
    • C72 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Game Theory and Bargaining Theory - - - Noncooperative Games
    • H41 - Public Economics - - Publicly Provided Goods - - - Public Goods
    • D64 - Microeconomics - - Welfare Economics - - - Altruism; Philanthropy; Intergenerational Transfers

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