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A Theory of Fairness, Competition and Cooperation

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  • Fehr, Ernst
  • Schmidt, Klaus M.

Abstract

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 a fraction of the people exhibits inequality aversion the puzzles can be resolved.

Suggested Citation

  • Fehr, Ernst & Schmidt, Klaus M., 1998. "A Theory of Fairness, Competition and Cooperation," CEPR Discussion Papers 1812, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  • Handle: RePEc:cpr:ceprdp:1812
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Bargaining; experimental economics; Public Goods; Reciprocity; utility theory;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • C78 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Game Theory and Bargaining Theory - - - Bargaining Theory; Matching Theory
    • C90 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments - - - General
    • D43 - Microeconomics - - Market Structure, Pricing, and Design - - - Oligopoly and Other Forms of Market Imperfection
    • H41 - Public Economics - - Publicly Provided Goods - - - Public Goods

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