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Fairness and the Optimal Allocation of Ownership Rights

  • Fehr, Ernst
  • Kremhelmer, Susanne
  • Schmidt, Klaus M.

We report on several experiments on the optimal allocation of ownership rights. The experiments confirm the property rights approach by showing that the ownership structure affects relationship-specific investments and that subjects attain the most efficient ownership allocation despite starting from different initial conditions. However, in contrast to the property rights approach, the most efficient ownership structure is joint ownership. These results are neither consistent with the self-interest model nor with models that assume that all people behave fairly, but they can be explained by the theory of inequity aversion that focuses on the interaction between selfish and fair players.

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Paper provided by University of Munich, Department of Economics in its series Discussion Papers in Economics with number 727.

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Date of creation: Jul 2005
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Handle: RePEc:lmu:muenec:727
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  2. Charness, Gary & Rabin, Matthew, 2001. "Understanding Social Preferences with Simple Tests," Department of Economics, Working Paper Series qt4qz9k8vg, Department of Economics, Institute for Business and Economic Research, UC Berkeley.
  3. Hackett, Steven C, 1994. "Is Relational Exchange Possible in the Absence of Reputations and Repeated Contact?," Journal of Law, Economics and Organization, Oxford University Press, vol. 10(2), pages 360-89, October.
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  5. Matthew Rabin., 1992. "Incorporating Fairness into Game Theory and Economics," Economics Working Papers 92-199, University of California at Berkeley.
  6. Falk, Armin & Fischbacher, Urs, 2006. "A theory of reciprocity," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 54(2), pages 293-315, February.
  7. Nöldeke, Georg & Schmidt, Klaus M., 1998. "Sequential investments and options to own," Munich Reprints in Economics 19327, University of Munich, Department of Economics.
  8. Gantner, Anita & Guth, Werner & Konigstein, Manfred, 2001. "Equitable choices in bargaining games with joint production," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 46(2), pages 209-225, October.
  9. Margin Dufwenberg & Georg Kirchsteiger, 2001. "A Theory of Sequential Reciprocity," Levine's Working Paper Archive 563824000000000090, David K. Levine.
  10. Ernst Fehr & Klaus M. Schmidt, . "Theories of Fairness and Reciprocity - Evidence and Economic Applications," IEW - Working Papers 075, Institute for Empirical Research in Economics - University of Zurich.
  11. Ernst Fehr & Klaus M. Schmidt, . "A Theory of Fairness, Competition and Cooperation," IEW - Working Papers 004, Institute for Empirical Research in Economics - University of Zurich.
  12. Ellingsen, Tore & Johannesson, Magnus, 2000. "Is There a Hold-up Problem?," SSE/EFI Working Paper Series in Economics and Finance 357, Stockholm School of Economics.
  13. Oliver Hart & Sanford Grossman, 1985. "The Costs and Benefits of Ownership: A Theory of Vertical and Lateral Integration," Working papers 372, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Department of Economics.
  14. Geanakoplos, John & Pearce, David & Stacchetti, Ennio, 1989. "Psychological games and sequential rationality," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 1(1), pages 60-79, March.
  15. Maija Halonen, 2002. "Reputation And The Allocation Of Ownership," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 112(481), pages 539-558, July.
  16. Bernard Salanié, 2003. "Testing Contract Theory," CESifo Economic Studies, CESifo, vol. 49(3), pages 461-477.
  17. Fehr, Ernst & Schmidt, Klaus M., 2001. "Theories of Fairness and Reciprocity," Discussion Papers in Economics 14, University of Munich, Department of Economics.
  18. Rosenkranz, Stephanie & Schmitz, Patrick W., 1999. "Know-how disclosure and incomplete contracts," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 63(2), pages 181-185, May.
  19. Hart, Oliver & Moore, John, 1990. "Property Rights and the Nature of the Firm," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 98(6), pages 1119-58, December.
  20. Axel Ockenfels & Gary E. Bolton, 2000. "ERC: A Theory of Equity, Reciprocity, and Competition," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 90(1), pages 166-193, March.
  21. Hart, Oliver, 1995. "Firms, Contracts, and Financial Structure," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780198288817, December.
  22. Tore Ellingsen & Magnus Johannesson, 2004. "Promises, Threats and Fairness," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 114(495), pages 397-420, 04.
  23. Hessel Oosterbeek & Joep Sonnemans & Susan van Velzen, 2003. "The need for marriage contracts: An experimental study," Journal of Population Economics, Springer;European Society for Population Economics, vol. 16(3), pages 431-453, 08.
  24. Ernst Fehr & Simon Gachter & Georg Kirchsteiger, 2001. "Reciprocity as a Contract Enforcement Device," Levine's Working Paper Archive 563824000000000143, David K. Levine.
  25. Eric Maskin & Jean Tirole, 1999. "Two Remarks on the Property-Rights Literature," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 66(1), pages 139-149.
  26. Gary E Bolton & Axel Ockenfels, 1997. "A Theory of Equity, Reciprocity, and Competition," Levine's Working Paper Archive 1889, David K. Levine.
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