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Helping the meaner, hurting the nicer: The contribution versus distribution game

  • Staffiero, Gianandrea

    ()

    (IESE Business School)

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    Wide experimental evidence shows that people do care about their opponents' payoff during social interaction. Our research aims to shed light on the relative importance of different motives in non-selfish choices highlighted in the recent literature. After a standard public-good game, one player is given the possibility to increase or decrease his opponent's payoff. While our baseline treatment replicates the tendency to hurt richer but lower-contributing players and help poorer but higher-contributing players, if we add exogenous assignments we find substantial willingness to hurt the rich, even if they have contributed more, and to help the poor, even if they have contributed less. These results show a greater focus on correcting inequality than on punishing or rewarding particular behavior. Moreover, we also find that subjects disregard efficiency, in terms of the overall "pie" to be shared. Overall, our data support inequality aversion as a more robust phenomenon than reciprocity and efficiency considerations.

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    Paper provided by IESE Business School in its series IESE Research Papers with number D/652.

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    Length: 32 pages
    Date of creation: 24 Sep 2006
    Date of revision:
    Handle: RePEc:ebg:iesewp:d-0652
    Contact details of provider: Postal: IESE Business School, Av Pearson 21, 08034 Barcelona, SPAIN
    Web page: http://www.iese.edu/
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    1. Georg Kirchsteiger & Martin Dufwenberg, 2004. "A theory of sequential reciprocity," ULB Institutional Repository 2013/5899, ULB -- Universite Libre de Bruxelles.
    2. Armin Falk & Ernst Fehr & Urs Fischbacher, . "Testing Theories of Fairness - Intentions Matter," IEW - Working Papers 063, Institute for Empirical Research in Economics - University of Zurich.
    3. Berg Joyce & Dickhaut John & McCabe Kevin, 1995. "Trust, Reciprocity, and Social History," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 10(1), pages 122-142, July.
    4. Charness, Gary & Rabin, Matthew, 2002. "Understanding Social Preferences with Simple Tests," Department of Economics, Working Paper Series qt3d04q5sm, Department of Economics, Institute for Business and Economic Research, UC Berkeley.
    5. Güth, Werner & Kliemt, Hartmut & Ockenfels, Axel, 2000. "Fairness versus efficiency: An experimental study of (mutual) gift giving," SFB 373 Discussion Papers 2001,6, Humboldt University of Berlin, Interdisciplinary Research Project 373: Quantification and Simulation of Economic Processes.
    6. Abbink, Klaus & Irlenbusch, Bernd & Renner, Elke, 2000. "The moonlighting game: An experimental study on reciprocity and retribution," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 42(2), pages 265-277, June.
    7. M. Rabin, 2001. "Incorporating Fairness into Game Theory and Economics," Levine's Working Paper Archive 511, David K. Levine.
    8. Martin Sefton & Robert Shupp & James M. Walker, 2007. "The Effect Of Rewards And Sanctions In Provision Of Public Goods," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 45(4), pages 671-690, October.
    9. Bolton, G.E. & Brandts, J. & Ockenfels, A., 1997. "Measuring Motivations for the Reciprocal Responses Observed in a Simple Dilemma Game," UFAE and IAE Working Papers 400.97, Unitat de Fonaments de l'Anàlisi Econòmica (UAB) and Institut d'Anàlisi Econòmica (CSIC).
    10. Selten, Reinhard & Abbink, Klaus & Buchta, Joachim & Sadrieh, Abdolkarim, 2003. "How to play (3 x 3)-games.: A strategy method experiment," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 45(1), pages 19-37, October.
    11. Fehr, Ernst & Kirchsteiger, George & Riedl, Arno, 1993. "Does Fairness Prevent Market Clearing? An Experimental Investigation," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 108(2), pages 437-59, May.
    12. Ernst Fehr & Klaus M. Schmidt, 1999. "A Theory Of Fairness, Competition, And Cooperation," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 114(3), pages 817-868, August.
    13. Simon Gachter & Ernst Fehr, 2000. "Cooperation and Punishment in Public Goods Experiments," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 90(4), pages 980-994, September.
    14. Fehr, Ernst & Schmidt, Klaus M., 1999. "A theory of fairness, competition, and cooperation," Munich Reprints in Economics 20650, University of Munich, Department of Economics.
    15. Offerman, Theo, 2002. "Hurting hurts more than helping helps," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 46(8), pages 1423-1437, September.
    16. repec:dgr:kubcen:200239 is not listed on IDEAS
    17. Kritikos, Alexander & Bolle, Friedel, 2001. "Distributional concerns: equity- or efficiency-oriented?," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 73(3), pages 333-338, December.
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