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Net-Loss Reciprocation and the Context Dependency of Economic Choices


  • König, Clemens


This paper proposes a novel explanation for the context dependency of individual choices in two-player games. Context dependency refers to the well-established phenomenon that a player, when choosing from a given opportunity set created by the other player’s strategy, chooses differently in different situations because of different alternatives to the other player’s strategy. The utility model used to explain this kind of context dependency incorporates a preference for net-loss reciprocation. Net-loss reciprocation means that a player’s willingness to impose a net loss (i.e., loss minus gain) on the other player increases in the net loss that he or she derives from the other player’s strategy. I show that net-loss reciprocation together with the method for calculating net losses developed in this paper explains the context dependencies in individual behaviour that have been documented in a number of experimental studies, whereas existing models of intention-based reciprocity fail to explain all the evidence.

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  • König, Clemens, 2013. "Net-Loss Reciprocation and the Context Dependency of Economic Choices," Discussion Papers in Economics 17474, University of Munich, Department of Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:lmu:muenec:17474

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    References listed on IDEAS

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    More about this item


    Reciprocity; Fairness; Experimental economics; Game theory; Loss aversion;

    JEL classification:

    • C70 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Game Theory and Bargaining Theory - - - General
    • C91 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments - - - Laboratory, Individual Behavior
    • D63 - Microeconomics - - Welfare Economics - - - Equity, Justice, Inequality, and Other Normative Criteria and Measurement
    • D64 - Microeconomics - - Welfare Economics - - - Altruism; Philanthropy; Intergenerational Transfers

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