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Ultimatum Offers and the Role of Transparency: An Experimental Study of Information Acquisition

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  • Thomas Gehrig
  • Werner Güth
  • René Levínský

Abstract

This paper analyses individual information acquisition in an ultimatum game with a-priori unknown outside options. We find that while individual play seems to accord reasonably well with the distribution of empirical behavior, contestants seem to grossly overweigh the value of information. While information acquisition seems to be excessive in all of our scenarios we identify a significant difference in behavior related to market transparency. In transparent markets, when respondents can observe whether bidders have acquired information, acceptance rates are higher. Accordingly, information is more valuable in transparent markets, both individually and socially.

Suggested Citation

  • Thomas Gehrig & Werner Güth & René Levínský, 2003. "Ultimatum Offers and the Role of Transparency: An Experimental Study of Information Acquisition," Papers on Strategic Interaction 2003-16, Max Planck Institute of Economics, Strategic Interaction Group.
  • Handle: RePEc:esi:discus:2003-16
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Grossman, Sanford J & Stiglitz, Joseph E, 1980. "On the Impossibility of Informationally Efficient Markets," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 70(3), pages 393-408, June.
    2. Grossman, Sanford J & Stiglitz, Joseph E, 1976. "Information and Competitive Price Systems," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 66(2), pages 246-253, May.
    3. Werner Güth & Radosveta Ivanova-Stenzel & Manfred Königstein & Martin Strobel, 2002. "Bid Functions in Auctions and Fair Division Games: Experimental Evidence," German Economic Review, Verein für Socialpolitik, vol. 3(4), pages 461-484, November.
    4. Harrison, Glenn W & McCabe, Kevin A, 1996. "Expectations and Fairness in a Simple Bargaining Experiment," International Journal of Game Theory, Springer;Game Theory Society, vol. 25(3), pages 303-327.
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    Cited by:

    1. Anders Poulsen & Jonathan Tan, 2007. "Information acquisition in the ultimatum game: An experimental study," Experimental Economics, Springer;Economic Science Association, vol. 10(4), pages 391-409, December.
    2. Judit Kovacs & Werner Güth, "undated". "Effective equity experiences from an ultimatum experiment," Papers on Strategic Interaction 2005-04, Max Planck Institute of Economics, Strategic Interaction Group.
    3. Werner Güth & René Levínský & Tobias Uske & Thomas Gehrig, 2006. "I want to know: Willingness to pay for unconditional veto power," Papers on Strategic Interaction 2006-21, Max Planck Institute of Economics, Strategic Interaction Group.
    4. BakIr, Niyazi Onur & Klutke, Georgia-Ann, 2011. "Information and preference reversals in lotteries," European Journal of Operational Research, Elsevier, vol. 210(3), pages 752-756, May.
    5. Conrads, Julian & Irlenbusch, Bernd, 2013. "Strategic ignorance in ultimatum bargaining," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 92(C), pages 104-115.
    6. Niyazi Onur Bakir, 2015. "Monotonicity of the Selling Price of Information with Risk Aversion in Two Action Decision Problems," Central European Journal of Economic Modelling and Econometrics, CEJEME, vol. 7(2), pages 71-90, June.
    7. Poulsen, Anders U. & Tan, Jonathan H.W., 2004. "Can Information Backfire? - Experimental Evidence from the Ultimatum Game," Working Papers 04-16, University of Aarhus, Aarhus School of Business, Department of Economics.
    8. Conrads, Julian & Irlenbusch, Bernd, 2011. "Strategic Ignorance in Bargaining," IZA Discussion Papers 6087, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).

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