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Homo Aequalis: A Cross-Society Experimental Analysis of Three Bargaining Games

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Abstract

Data from three bargaining games - the Dictator Game, the Ultimatum Game, and the Third-Party Punishment Game - played in 15 societies are presented. The societies range from US undergraduates to Amazonian, Arctic, and African hunter-gatherers. Behaviour within the games varies markedly across societies. The paper investigates whether this behavioural diversity can be explained solely by variations in inequality aversion. Combining a single parameter utility function with the notion of subgame perfection generates a number of testable predictions. While most of these are supported, there are some telling divergencies between theory and data: uncertainty and preferences relating to acts of vengeance may have influenced play in the Ultimatum and Third-Party Punishment Games; and a few subjects used the games as an opportunity to engage in costly signalling

Suggested Citation

  • Abigail Barr & Chris Wallace, 2009. "Homo Aequalis: A Cross-Society Experimental Analysis of Three Bargaining Games," Economics Series Working Papers 422, University of Oxford, Department of Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:oxf:wpaper:422
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    File URL: http://www.economics.ox.ac.uk/materials/working_papers/paper422.pdf
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    1. Ernst Fehr & Urs Fischbacher, "undated". "Third Party Punishment and Social Norms," IEW - Working Papers 106, Institute for Empirical Research in Economics - University of Zurich.
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    6. James Andreoni & Marco Castillo & Ragan Petrie, 2009. "Revealing Preferences for Fairness in Ultimatum Bargaining," Korean Economic Review, Korean Economic Association, vol. 25, pages 35-63.
    7. Roth, Alvin E. & Vesna Prasnikar & Masahiro Okuno-Fujiwara & Shmuel Zamir, 1991. "Bargaining and Market Behavior in Jerusalem, Ljubljana, Pittsburgh, and Tokyo: An Experimental Study," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 81(5), pages 1068-1095, December.
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    9. James Andreoni & Marco Castillo & Ragan Petrie, 2003. "What Do Bargainers' Preferences Look Like? Experiments with a Convex Ultimatum Game," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 93(3), pages 672-685, June.
    10. James Andreoni & John Miller, 2002. "Giving According to GARP: An Experimental Test of the Consistency of Preferences for Altruism," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 70(2), pages 737-753, March.
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    Cited by:

    1. Pamela Jakiela & Edward Miguel & Vera L. te Velde, 2010. "You've Earned It: Combining Field and Lab Experiments to Estimate the Impact of Human Capital on Social Preferences," NBER Working Papers 16449, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    2. Juan Camilo Cárdenas, 2009. "Experiments in Environment and Development," Annual Review of Resource Economics, Annual Reviews, vol. 1(1), pages 157-182, September.
    3. Miller Moya, Luis Miguel & Ubeda Molla, Paloma, 2014. "The Relevance of Relative Position in Ultimatum Games," DFAEII Working Papers DFAE-II;2014-02, University of the Basque Country - Department of Foundations of Economic Analysis II.
    4. repec:eee:corfin:v:45:y:2017:i:c:p:162-175 is not listed on IDEAS
    5. Beranek, Benjamin & Cubitt, Robin & Gächter, Simon, 2015. "Stated and Revealed Inequality Aversion in Three Subject Pools," IZA Discussion Papers 8954, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    6. Samuel Bowles & Sandra Polania-Reyes, 2011. "Economic incentives and social preferences: substitutes or complements?," Department of Economics University of Siena 617, Department of Economics, University of Siena.
    7. Kohler, Stefan, 2013. "Inequality aversion causes equal or unequal division in alternating-offer bargaining," MPRA Paper 40764, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    8. Juan Cardenas, 2011. "Social Norms and Behavior in the Local Commons as Seen Through the Lens of Field Experiments," Environmental & Resource Economics, Springer;European Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, vol. 48(3), pages 451-485, March.
    9. Horak, Sven, 2013. "Cross-cultural experimental economics and indigenous management research: Issues and contributions," Working Papers on East Asian Studies 92/2013, University of Duisburg-Essen, Institute of East Asian Studies IN-EAST.
    10. Pamela Jakiela & Edward Miguel & Vera Velde, 2015. "You’ve earned it: estimating the impact of human capital on social preferences," Experimental Economics, Springer;Economic Science Association, vol. 18(3), pages 385-407, September.
    11. Ahern, Kenneth R. & Daminelli, Daniele & Fracassi, Cesare, 2015. "Lost in translation? The effect of cultural values on mergers around the world," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 117(1), pages 165-189.
    12. Elnahas, Ahmed M. & Kabir Hassan, M. & Ismail, Ghada M., 2017. "Religion and mergers and acquisitions contracting: The case of earnout agreements," Journal of Corporate Finance, Elsevier, vol. 42(C), pages 221-246.
    13. Kohler, Stefan, 2012. "More fair play in an ultimatum game after resettlement in Zimbabwe: A field experiment and a structural model," MPRA Paper 40248, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    14. Samuel Bowles & Sandra Polanía Reyes, 2009. "Economic Incentives and Social Preferences: A preference-Based Lucas Critique of Public Policy," UMASS Amherst Economics Working Papers 2009-11, University of Massachusetts Amherst, Department of Economics.
    15. Samuel Bowles & Sandra Polanía Reyes, 2009. "Economic Incentives and Social Preferences: A Preference-based Lucas Critique of Public Policy," CESifo Working Paper Series 2734, CESifo Group Munich.

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    Keywords

    Bargaining Games; Cross-cultural Experiments; Inequality Aversion;

    JEL classification:

    • C72 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Game Theory and Bargaining Theory - - - Noncooperative Games
    • C9 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments
    • Z13 - Other Special Topics - - Cultural Economics - - - Economic Sociology; Economic Anthropology; Language; Social and Economic Stratification

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