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Stakes Matter in Ultimatum Games

Author

Listed:
  • Andersen, Steffen

    (Department of Economics, Copenhagen Business School)

  • Ertaç, Seda
  • Gneezy, Uri
  • Hoffman , Moshe
  • List, John A.

Abstract

The canonical bargaining game in economics is the ultimatum game, played by tens of thousands of students around the world over the past three decades. In the ultimatum game, first studied by Werner Guth, Rolf Schmittberger, and Bernd Schwarze (1982), the “proposer” proposes how to split a pie between herself and a “responder.” Then the responder decides whether to accept or reject this proposal. If the responder accepts, then the proposal is implemented; otherwise, both players receive nothing. For players motivated purely by monetary considerations, the standard subgame-perfect equilibrium solution implies that the proposer receives almost all of the money. In this manner, the ultimatum game represents a stylized glimpse into the underpinnings of decision-making at the heart of economics. For instance, a monopolist setting a price, a monopsonist setting a wage, or more generally any bargaining situation that has a take it or leave it element.

Suggested Citation

  • 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.
  • Handle: RePEc:hhs:cbsnow:2011_001
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Uri Gneezy, 2005. "Deception: The Role of Consequences," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 95(1), pages 384-394, March.
    2. Carpenter, Jeffrey P., 2007. "The demand for punishment," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 62(4), pages 522-542, April.
    3. Steffen Andersen & Seda Ertac & Uri Gneezy & Moshe Hoffman & John A. List, 2011. "Stakes Matter in Ultimatum Games," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 101(7), pages 3427-3439, December.
    4. Matthias Sutter, 2009. "Deception Through Telling the Truth?! Experimental Evidence From Individuals and Teams," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 119(534), pages 47-60, January.
    5. List, John A. & Cherry, Todd L., 2008. "Examining the role of fairness in high stakes allocation decisions," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 65(1), pages 1-8, January.
    6. Cameron, Lisa A, 1999. "Raising the Stakes in the Ultimatum Game: Experimental Evidence from Indonesia," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 37(1), pages 47-59, January.
    7. 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.
    8. Guth, Werner & Schmittberger, Rolf & Schwarze, Bernd, 1982. "An experimental analysis of ultimatum bargaining," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 3(4), pages 367-388, December.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    game theory; decision-making; price theory;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • C70 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Game Theory and Bargaining Theory - - - General
    • D40 - Microeconomics - - Market Structure, Pricing, and Design - - - General

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