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Express Yourself: The Price of Fairness in a Simple Distribution Game


  • Andreas Nicklisch



A simple two-person distribution game similar to the ultimatum game is introduced. However, unlike the standard ultimatum game, responders can determine the payoff for the proposer in case of rejection. Therefore, they can express their concerns in monetary quantities. The experimental data are analyzed with respect to inequity aversion and intended punishment. The analysis casts doubt on a single motivation of responders' actions, but supports a combination of reciprocity and inequity aversion. ased on these findings, the data support a simple model for distribution preferences based on an increasing price for exposing responders to unkind offers.

Suggested Citation

  • Andreas Nicklisch, 2004. "Express Yourself: The Price of Fairness in a Simple Distribution Game," Papers on Strategic Interaction 2004-36, Max Planck Institute of Economics, Strategic Interaction Group.
  • Handle: RePEc:esi:discus:2004-36

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Rabin, Matthew, 2002. "A perspective on psychology and economics," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 46(4-5), pages 657-685, May.
    2. Gary Charness & Matthew Rabin, 2002. "Understanding Social Preferences with Simple Tests," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 117(3), pages 817-869.
    3. Ernst Fehr & Klaus M. Schmidt, 1999. "A Theory of Fairness, Competition, and Cooperation," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 114(3), pages 817-868.
    4. Falk, Armin & Fischbacher, Urs, 2006. "A theory of reciprocity," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 54(2), pages 293-315, February.
    5. Telser, L G, 1995. "The Ultimatum Game and the Law of Demand," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 105(433), pages 1519-1523, November.
    6. Ernst Fehr & Klaus M. Schmidt, "undated". "Theories of Fairness and Reciprocity - Evidence and Economic Applications," IEW - Working Papers 075, Institute for Empirical Research in Economics - University of Zurich.
    7. Cox, James C. & Friedman, Daniel & Gjerstad, Steven, 2007. "A tractable model of reciprocity and fairness," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 59(1), pages 17-45, April.
    8. Dufwenberg, Martin & Kirchsteiger, Georg, 2004. "A theory of sequential reciprocity," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 47(2), pages 268-298, May.
    9. Armin Falk & Ernst Fehr & Urs Fischbacher, 2003. "On the Nature of Fair Behavior," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 41(1), pages 20-26, January.
    10. 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.
    11. Rami Zwick & Xiao-Ping Chen, 1999. "What Price Fairness? A Bargaining Study," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 45(6), pages 804-823, June.
    12. 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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    More about this item


    ultimatum bargaining; inequity aversion; efficiency concerns; fairness preferences;

    JEL classification:

    • D63 - Microeconomics - - Welfare Economics - - - Equity, Justice, Inequality, and Other Normative Criteria and Measurement
    • D64 - Microeconomics - - Welfare Economics - - - Altruism; Philanthropy; Intergenerational Transfers

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