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Inefficiency and Social Exclusion in a Coalition Formation Game


  • Okada, Akiro

    (Institute of Economic Research, Kyoto University)

  • Riedl, Arno

    (Department of Economics and Econometrics, University of Amsterdam)


This paper reports the results of experiments involving a 3-person coalition formation game with an ultimatum bargaining character. The grand coalition was always the efficient coalition decision, whereas the values of the 2-person coalitions are varied such that they lead to an efficiency loss in the range of 6.7 up to 30 percent. Furthermore, the 2-person coalition implies social exclusion, since the not chosen member always receives a payoff of zero. Consistent with results reported in the literature on 2- person ultimatum bargaining experiments, negative reciprocity (i.e. punishment of unfair offers) plays a crucial role in decision making. The hypothesis that selfishness and anticipated negative reciprocity by proposers together with actual negative reciprocal behavior of responders lead to inefficient outcomes and social exclusion is strongly supported by the data. It turns out that a huge majority of proposers choose the inefficient and unfair 2-person coalition. Proposer-induced efficiency losses vary between 5 and 20 percent, and one sixth to almost one third of the population is excluded from participation.

Suggested Citation

  • Okada, Akiro & Riedl, Arno, 1999. "Inefficiency and Social Exclusion in a Coalition Formation Game," Economics Series 64, Institute for Advanced Studies.
  • Handle: RePEc:ihs:ihsesp:64

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Ernst Fehr & Georg Kirchsteiger & Arno Riedl, 1993. "Does Fairness Prevent Market Clearing? An Experimental Investigation," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 108(2), pages 437-459.
    2. Ernst Fehr & Simon Gachter & Georg Kirchsteiger, 1997. "Reciprocity as a Contract Enforcement Device: Experimental Evidence," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 65(4), pages 833-860, July.
    3. Fehr, Ernst & Kirchsteiger, Georg & Riedl, Arno, 1998. "Gift exchange and reciprocity in competitive experimental markets," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 42(1), pages 1-34, January.
    4. Schotter Andrew & Weigelt Keith & Wilson Charles, 1994. "A Laboratory Investigation of Multiperson Rationality and Presentation Effects," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 6(3), pages 445-468, May.
    5. Hoffman, Elizabeth & Spitzer, Matthew L, 1982. "The Coase Theorem: Some Experimental Tests," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 25(1), pages 73-98, April.
    6. Guth, Werner & Tietz, Reinhard, 1990. "Ultimatum bargaining behavior : A survey and comparison of experimental results," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 11(3), pages 417-449, September.
    7. Roth, Alvin E. & Vesna Prasnikar & Masahiro Okuno-Fujiwara & Shmuel Zamir, 1991. "Bargaining and Market Behavior in Jerusalem, Ljubljana, Pittsburgh, and Tokyo: An Experimental Study," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 81(5), pages 1068-1095, December.
    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.
    9. Berg Joyce & Dickhaut John & McCabe Kevin, 1995. "Trust, Reciprocity, and Social History," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 10(1), pages 122-142, July.
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    More about this item


    Coalition formation; Inefficiency; Reciprocity; Social exclusion;

    JEL classification:

    • A13 - General Economics and Teaching - - General Economics - - - Relation of Economics to Social Values
    • C91 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments - - - Laboratory, Individual Behavior
    • D61 - Microeconomics - - Welfare Economics - - - Allocative Efficiency; Cost-Benefit Analysis
    • D63 - Microeconomics - - Welfare Economics - - - Equity, Justice, Inequality, and Other Normative Criteria and Measurement


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