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On the Nature of Reciprocity: Evidence from the Ultimatum Reciprocity Measure

  • Andreas Nicklisch

    ()

    (Max Planck Institute for Research on Collective Goods, University of Bonn, Germany)

  • Irenaeus Wolff

    ()

    (Thurgau Institute of Economics at the University of Konstanz, Department of Economics, Germany)

We experimentally show that current models of reciprocity are incomplete in a systematic way using a new variant of the ultimatum game that provides second-movers with a marginal-cost-free punishment option. For a substantial proportion of the population, the degree of first-mover unkindness determines the severity of punishment actions even when marginal costs are absent. The proportion of these participants strongly depends on a treatment variation: higher fixed costs of punishment more frequently lead to extreme responses. The fractions of purely selfish and inequity-averse participants are small and stable. Among the variety of reciprocity models, only one accommodates (rather than predicts) parts of our findings. We discuss ways of incorporating our findings into the existing models.

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Paper provided by Department of Economics, University of Konstanz in its series Working Paper Series of the Department of Economics, University of Konstanz with number 2012-27.

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Length: 36 pages
Date of creation: 19 Nov 2012
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:knz:dpteco:1227
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