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Fairness and Promises for Sale

Author

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  • Holm, Håkan

    () (Department of Economics, Lund University)

  • Daielson, Anders

    (Department of Economics, Lund University)

Abstract

While many studies have shown that fairness matters few efforts have been made to find out how important fairness is to the individual and thereby assessing the limits of these fairness concerns. This study reports on Trust game experiments in Sweden and Jamaica where subjects could forego a more fair allocation in return for extra money. The results indicate that 90 percent of subjects that had demonstrated fairness ambitions were willing to let down their counterparts if compensated. Explicit promises did not seem to matter. The first player was informed that the second player could earn extra money by changing to an unfair allocation. This modification appeared to make the trust aspect more salient which can explain a relatively strong consistency between trust behavior and answers to attitudinal trust questions.

Suggested Citation

  • Holm, Håkan & Daielson, Anders, 2004. "Fairness and Promises for Sale," Working Papers 2004:18, Lund University, Department of Economics, revised 15 Aug 2005.
  • Handle: RePEc:hhs:lunewp:2004_018
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    File URL: http://project.nek.lu.se/publications/workpap/Papers/WP04_18.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Becker, Gary S, 1974. "A Theory of Social Interactions," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 82(6), pages 1063-1093, Nov.-Dec..
    2. 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.
    3. Charness, Gary & Dufwenberg, Martin, 2003. "Promises & Partnership," Research Papers in Economics 2003:3, Stockholm University, Department of Economics.
    4. Ernst Fehr & Urs Fischbacher & Elena Tougareva, "undated". "Do High Stakes and Competition Undermine Fairness? Evidence from Russia," IEW - Working Papers 120, Institute for Empirical Research in Economics - University of Zurich.
    5. Camerer, Colin F & Hogarth, Robin M, 1999. "The Effects of Financial Incentives in Experiments: A Review and Capital-Labor-Production Framework," Journal of Risk and Uncertainty, Springer, vol. 19(1-3), pages 7-42, December.
    6. Holm, Hakan & Nystedt, Paul, 2005. "Intra-generational trust--a semi-experimental study of trust among different generations," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 58(3), pages 403-419, November.
    7. Dufwenberg, Martin & Kirchsteiger, Georg, 2004. "A theory of sequential reciprocity," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 47(2), pages 268-298, May.
    8. Andreoni, James, 1990. "Impure Altruism and Donations to Public Goods: A Theory of Warm-Glow Giving?," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 100(401), pages 464-477, June.
    9. 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.
    10. James Konow, 2003. "Which Is the Fairest One of All? A Positive Analysis of Justice Theories," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 41(4), pages 1188-1239, December.
    11. Håkan J. Holm & Anders Danielson, 2005. "Tropic Trust Versus Nordic Trust: Experimental Evidence From Tanzania And Sweden," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 115(503), pages 505-532, April.
    12. Rabin, Matthew, 1993. "Incorporating Fairness into Game Theory and Economics," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 83(5), pages 1281-1302, December.
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Robert Jiro Netzer & Matthias Sutter, 2009. "Intercultural trust. An experiment in Austria and Japan," Working Papers 2009-05, Faculty of Economics and Statistics, University of Innsbruck.
    2. Lundquist, Tobias & Ellingsen, Tore & Gribbe, Erik & Johannesson, Magnus, 2009. "The aversion to lying," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 70(1-2), pages 81-92, May.
    3. Holm, Håkan & Nystedt, Paul, 2005. "Trust in surveys and games - a matter of money and location?," Working Papers 2005:26, Lund University, Department of Economics, revised 15 Aug 2005.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Experiments; trust game; fairness; inequality aversion; opportunism; promise;

    JEL classification:

    • C91 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments - - - Laboratory, Individual Behavior
    • 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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