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Negative Reciprocity and the Interaction of Emotions and Fairness Norms

  • Ernesto Reuben
  • Frans van Winden

This experimental study investigates how behavior changes after punishment for an unkind action. It also studies how fairness perceptions affect the reaction to punishment and whether this effect is consistent across repeated play and role experiences. A repeated version of the power-to-take game is used. In this game, the proposer can make a claim on the resources of a responder. Then, the responder can destroy any part of her own resources. The focus is on how proposers adjust their behavior depending on their fairness perceptions, their experienced emotions, and their interaction with responders. We find that fairness plays an important role in the behavior of proposers. Specifically, deviations from a perceived fairness norm trigger feelings of shame and guilt, which induce proposers to lower their claims. However, we also find that the perceived fairness norm varies considerably between individuals. Therefore, it is not the case that proposers who considered they were acting fairly were particularly nice to responders. Our results also show that the different types of individuals predicted by models of social preferences, can be traced among the subjects that played the same role in both periods, but fail to describe the behavior of subjects who switched from one role to the other.

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Paper provided by CESifo Group Munich in its series CESifo Working Paper Series with number 1685.

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Date of creation: 2006
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Handle: RePEc:ces:ceswps:_1685
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  1. David K. Levine, 1998. "Modeling Altruism and Spitefulness in Experiment," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 1(3), pages 593-622, July.
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  3. Roth, Alvin E. & Vesna Prasnikar & Masahiro Okuno-Fujiwara & Shmuel Zamir, 1991. "Bargaining and Market Behavior in Jerusalem, Ljubljana, Pittsburgh, and Tokyo: An Experimental Study," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 81(5), pages 1068-95, December.
  4. Shyam Sunder & Haijin Lin, 2003. "Using Experimental Data to Model Bargaining Behavior in Ultimatum Games," Yale School of Management Working Papers ysm330, Yale School of Management.
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  6. Gershon Ben-Shakhar & Gary Bornstein & Astrid Hopfensitz & Frans van Winden, 2004. "Reciprocity and Emotions: Arousal, Self-Reports, and Expectations," CESifo Working Paper Series 1298, CESifo Group Munich.
  7. Armin Falk & Urs Fischbacher, 2001. "A Theory of Reciprocity," CESifo Working Paper Series 457, CESifo Group Munich.
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  11. Bosman, Ronald & Sutter, Matthias & van Winden, Frans, 2005. "The impact of real effort and emotions in the power-to-take game," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 26(3), pages 407-429, June.
  12. Giorgio Coricelli, 2002. "Sequence Matters: an Experimental Study of the Effects of Experiencing Positive and Negative Reciprocity," Department of Economics University of Siena 369, Department of Economics, University of Siena.
  13. Ernst Fehr & Joseph Henrich & Robert Boyd, 2003. "In Search of Homo Economicus: Behavioral Experiments in 15 Small- Scale Societies," Microeconomics 0305009, EconWPA.
  14. Kirchsteiger, Georg, 1994. "The role of envy in ultimatum games," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 25(3), pages 373-389, December.
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  16. Rapoport, Amnon & Sundali, James A. & Seale, Darryl A., 1996. "Ultimatums in two-person bargaining with one-sided uncertainty: Demand games," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 30(2), pages 173-196, August.
  17. Gary E Bolton & Axel Ockenfels, 1997. "A Theory of Equity, Reciprocity, and Competition," Levine's Working Paper Archive 1889, David K. Levine.
  18. 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.
  19. Rabin, Matthew, 1993. "Incorporating Fairness into Game Theory and Economics," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 83(5), pages 1281-1302, December.
  20. van Winden, Frans, 2001. "Emotional Hazard Exemplified by Taxation-Induced Anger," Kyklos, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 54(2-3), pages 491-506.
  21. Pamela Schmitt, 2004. "On Perceptions of Fairness: The Role of Valuations, Outside Options, and Information in Ultimatum Bargaining Games," Experimental Economics, Springer, vol. 7(1), pages 49-73, February.
  22. Rapoport, Amnon & Sundali, James A, 1996. "Ultimatums in Two-Person Bargaining with One-Sided Uncertainty: Offer Games," International Journal of Game Theory, Springer, vol. 25(4), pages 475-94.
  23. Straub, Paul G. & Murnighan, J. Keith, 1995. "An experimental investigation of ultimatum games: information, fairness, expectations, and lowest acceptable offers," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 27(3), pages 345-364, August.
  24. Knez Marc J. & Camerer Colin F., 1995. "Outside Options and Social Comparison in Three-Player Ultimatum Game Experiments," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 10(1), pages 65-94, July.
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