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The generosity effect: Fairness in sharing gains and losses

Author

Listed:
  • Guillermo Baquero

    (ESMT European School of Management and Technology)

  • Willem Smit

    (SMU, IMD)

  • Luc Wathieu

    (Georgetown University, McDonough School of Business)

Abstract

We explore the interaction between fairness attitudes and reference dependence both theoretically and experimentally. Our theory of fairness behavior under reference-dependent preferences in the context of ultimatum games, defines fairness in the utility domain and not in the domain of dollar payments. We test our model predictions using a within-subject design with ultimatum and dictator games involving gains and losses of varying amounts. Proposers indicated their offer in gain- and (neatly comparable) loss- games; responders indicated minimum acceptable gain and maximum acceptable loss. We find a significant “generosity effect” in the loss domain: on average, proposers bear the largest share of losses as if anticipating responders’ call for a smaller share. In contrast, reference dependence hardly affects the outcome of dictator games -where responders have no veto right- though we detect a small but significant “compassion effect”, whereby dictators are on average somewhat more generous sharing losses than sharing gains.

Suggested Citation

  • Guillermo Baquero & Willem Smit & Luc Wathieu, 2013. "The generosity effect: Fairness in sharing gains and losses," ESMT Research Working Papers ESMT-13-08, ESMT European School of Management and Technology.
  • Handle: RePEc:esm:wpaper:esmt-13-08
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    File URL: http://static.esmt.org/publications/workingpapers/ESMT-13-08.pdf
    File Function: First version, 2013
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Amos Tversky & Daniel Kahneman, 1991. "Loss Aversion in Riskless Choice: A Reference-Dependent Model," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 106(4), pages 1039-1061.
    2. Andersen, Steffen & Ertaç, Seda & Gneezy, Uri & Hoffman , Moshe & List, John A., 2011. "Stakes Matter in Ultimatum Games," Working Papers 01-2011, Copenhagen Business School, Department of Economics.
    3. Brit Grosskopf, 2003. "Reinforcement and Directional Learning in the Ultimatum Game with Responder Competition," Experimental Economics, Springer;Economic Science Association, vol. 6(2), pages 141-158, October.
    4. Urs Fischbacher, 2007. "z-Tree: Zurich toolbox for ready-made economic experiments," Experimental Economics, Springer;Economic Science Association, vol. 10(2), pages 171-178, June.
    5. Guth, Werner & Tietz, Reinhard, 1990. "Ultimatum bargaining behavior : A survey and comparison of experimental results," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, pages 417-449.
    6. Steffen Andersen & Seda Ertac & Uri Gneezy & Moshe Hoffman & John A. List, 2011. "Stakes Matter in Ultimatum Games," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, pages 3427-3439.
    7. John Kagel & Katherine Wolfe, 2001. "Tests of Fairness Models Based on Equity Considerations in a Three-Person Ultimatum Game," Experimental Economics, Springer;Economic Science Association, vol. 4(3), pages 203-219, December.
    8. Hessel Oosterbeek & Randolph Sloof & Gijs van de Kuilen, 2004. "Cultural Differences in Ultimatum Game Experiments: Evidence from a Meta-Analysis," Experimental Economics, Springer;Economic Science Association, vol. 7(2), pages 171-188, June.
    9. Steffen Andersen & Seda Ertac & Uri Gneezy & Moshe Hoffman & John A. List, 2011. "Stakes Matter in Ultimatum Games," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, pages 3427-3439.
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    Cited by:

    1. Doll, Monika & Seebauer, Michael & Tonn, Maren, 2017. "Bargaining over waiting time in gain and loss framed ultimatum games," FAU Discussion Papers in Economics 15/2017, Friedrich-Alexander University Erlangen-Nuremberg, Institute for Economics.
    2. repec:kap:expeco:v:20:y:2017:i:4:d:10.1007_s10683-017-9514-7 is not listed on IDEAS
    3. Ola Kvaløy & Miguel Luzuriaga & Trond E. Olsen, 2017. "A trust game in loss domain," Experimental Economics, Springer;Economic Science Association, pages 860-877.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Fairness; loss domain; ultimatum game; dictator game; referencedependent preferences; social preferences;

    JEL classification:

    • D03 - Microeconomics - - General - - - Behavioral Microeconomics: Underlying Principles
    • D81 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Criteria for Decision-Making under Risk and Uncertainty

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