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Frustration and Anger in the Ultimatum Game: An Experiment

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  • Chiara Aina
  • Pierpaolo Battigalli
  • Astrid Gamba

Abstract

In social dilemmas, choices may depend on belief-dependent motivations enhancing the credibility of promises or threats at odds with personal gain maximization. We address this issue theoretically and experimentally in the context of the Ultimatum Minigame, assuming that the choice of accepting or rejecting an unfair proposal is affected by a combination of frustration, due to unfulfilled expectations, and inequity aversion. We increase the responder's payoff from the default allocation (the proposer's outside option) with the purpose of increasing the responder's frustration due to the unfair proposal, and thus his willingness to reject it. In addition, we manipulate the method of play, with the purpose of switching on (direct response method) and off (strategy method) the responder's experience of anger. Our behavioral predictions across and within treatments are derived from the theoretical model complemented by explicit auxiliary assumptions, without relying on equilibrium analysis. Keywords: Experiments, psychological games, ultimatum minigame, frustration, anger, non-equilibrium analysis. JEL classification: C72, C91, D03.

Suggested Citation

  • Chiara Aina & Pierpaolo Battigalli & Astrid Gamba, 2018. "Frustration and Anger in the Ultimatum Game: An Experiment," Working Papers 621, IGIER (Innocenzo Gasparini Institute for Economic Research), Bocconi University.
  • Handle: RePEc:igi:igierp:621
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Kristina Czura & Anett John & Lisa Spantig, 2020. "Flexible Microcredit: Effects on Loan Repayment and Social Pressure," CESifo Working Paper Series 8322, CESifo.
    2. M. Bigoni & S. Bortolotti & E. Nas Özen, 2019. "Economic Polarization and Antisocial Behavior: an experiment," Working Papers wp1133, Dipartimento Scienze Economiche, Universita' di Bologna.
    3. Attanasi, Giuseppe & Battigalli, Pierpaolo & Manzoni, Elena & Nagel, Rosemarie, 2019. "Belief-dependent preferences and reputation: Experimental analysis of a repeated trust game," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 167(C), pages 341-360.
    4. Pierpaolo Battigalli & Martin Dufwenberg, 2019. "Psychological Game Theory," Working Papers 646, IGIER (Innocenzo Gasparini Institute for Economic Research), Bocconi University.
    5. Pierpaolo Battigalli & Martin Dufwenberg, 2020. "Belief-Dependent Motivations and Psychological Game Theory," CESifo Working Paper Series 8285, CESifo.
    6. Pierpaolo Battigalli & Roberto Corrao & Martin Dufwenberg, 2019. "Incorporating Belief-Dependent Motivation in Games Psychological game theory (PGT), introduced by Geanakoplos, Pearce & Stacchetti (1989) and significantly generalized by Battigalli & Dufwenberg (2009," Working Papers 642, IGIER (Innocenzo Gasparini Institute for Economic Research), Bocconi University.
    7. Battigalli, Pierpaolo & Corrao, Roberto & Dufwenberg, Martin, 2019. "Incorporating belief-dependent motivation in games," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 167(C), pages 185-218.
    8. Battigalli, Pierpaolo & Dufwenberg, Martin & Smith, Alec, 2019. "Frustration, aggression, and anger in leader-follower games," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 117(C), pages 15-39.
    9. Elina Khachatryan & Christoph Buehren, 2020. "Letting off Steam! Experimental Evidence on Inappropriate Punishment," MAGKS Papers on Economics 202039, Philipps-Universität Marburg, Faculty of Business Administration and Economics, Department of Economics (Volkswirtschaftliche Abteilung).

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    JEL classification:

    • C72 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Game Theory and Bargaining Theory - - - Noncooperative Games
    • C91 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments - - - Laboratory, Individual Behavior
    • D03 - Microeconomics - - General - - - Behavioral Microeconomics: Underlying Principles

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