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Equal Split in the Informal Market for Group Train Travel

  • Israel Waichman
  • Artem Korzhenevych
  • Till Requate

In this paper we make use of a unique dataset collected in the central train station of Kiel, Germany. A group ticket is used by individual proposers who search for co-travelers to share the ride with shortly before the train departure. The bargaining behavior resembles the Ultimatum game to the extent that proposers request a fixed price for a shared ride and potential co-travelers usually accept or reject the deal. We observe that the prevailing price corresponds to the equal split of the ticket cost between the maximum possible number of co-travelers. This result is remarkable because the positions of the bargaining parties are hardly symmetric and the formation of the full group is not guaranteed. Using a simple agent-based model we are able to identify some sufficient conditions leading to the observed distribution of prices. Finally, we show that the probability to accept an unusually high offer is decreasing with the price and increasing when the offer is made right before the train departure

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Paper provided by Kiel Institute for the World Economy in its series Kiel Working Papers with number 1638.

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Length: 28 pages
Date of creation: Jul 2010
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:kie:kieliw:1638
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  1. Guth, Werner & Huck, Steffen & Muller, Wieland, 2001. "The Relevance of Equal Splits in Ultimatum Games," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 37(1), pages 161-169, October.
  2. 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.
  3. Maarten Janssen, 2001. "Rationalizing Focal Points," Theory and Decision, Springer, vol. 50(2), pages 119-148, March.
  4. Kerstin Pull, 2003. "Ultimatum Games and Wages: Evidence of an “Implicit Bargain”?," Schmalenbach Business Review (sbr), LMU Munich School of Management, vol. 55(2), pages 161-171, April.
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  6. Sugden, Robert, 1995. "A Theory of Focal Points," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 105(430), pages 533-50, May.
  7. Antoni Bosch-Domènech & Nicolaas J. Vriend, 2008. "On the role of non-equilibrium focal points as coordination devices," Economics Working Papers 1064, Department of Economics and Business, Universitat Pompeu Fabra.
  8. Bacharach, Michael & Bernasconi, Michele, 1997. "The Variable Frame Theory of Focal Points: An Experimental Study," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 19(1), pages 1-45, April.
  9. Hoffman Elizabeth & McCabe Kevin & Shachat Keith & Smith Vernon, 1994. "Preferences, Property Rights, and Anonymity in Bargaining Games," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 7(3), pages 346-380, November.
  10. Janssen, Maarten C.W., 2006. "On the strategic use of focal points in bargaining situations," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 27(5), pages 622-634, October.
  11. Duffy, John, 2006. "Agent-Based Models and Human Subject Experiments," Handbook of Computational Economics, in: Leigh Tesfatsion & Kenneth L. Judd (ed.), Handbook of Computational Economics, edition 1, volume 2, chapter 19, pages 949-1011 Elsevier.
  12. Kagel, John H. & Kim, Chung & Moser, Donald, 1996. "Fairness in Ultimatum Games with Asymmetric Information and Asymmetric Payoffs," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 13(1), pages 100-110, March.
  13. Gneezy, Uri & Haruvy, Ernan & Roth, Alvin E., 2003. "Bargaining under a deadline: evidence from the reverse ultimatum game," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 45(2), pages 347-368, November.
  14. Simon Gächter & Arno Riedl, 2005. "Moral Property Rights in Bargaining with Infeasible Claims," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 51(2), pages 249-263, February.
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