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

Author

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  • 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)

Abstract

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.

Suggested Citation

  • Andreas Nicklisch & Irenaeus Wolff, 2012. "On the Nature of Reciprocity: Evidence from the Ultimatum Reciprocity Measure," Working Paper Series of the Department of Economics, University of Konstanz 2012-27, Department of Economics, University of Konstanz.
  • Handle: RePEc:knz:dpteco:1227
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    Cited by:

    1. Güth, Werner & Kocher, Martin G., 2014. "More than thirty years of ultimatum bargaining experiments: Motives, variations, and a survey of the recent literature," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 108(C), pages 396-409.
    2. Irenaeus Wolff, 2013. "When best-replies are not in Equilibrium: Understanding Cooperative Behaviour," Working Paper Series of the Department of Economics, University of Konstanz 2013-28, Department of Economics, University of Konstanz.

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Distributional fairness; experiments; intention-based fairness; reciprocity; ultimatum bargaining;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • C91 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments - - - Laboratory, Individual Behavior
    • D03 - Microeconomics - - General - - - Behavioral Microeconomics: Underlying Principles
    • D63 - Microeconomics - - Welfare Economics - - - Equity, Justice, Inequality, and Other Normative Criteria and Measurement

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