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Ultimata bargaining: generosity without social motives

Author

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  • Breitmoser, Yves
  • Tan, Jonathan H.W.

Abstract

We show and explain how generosity beyond that explainable by social preferences can manifest in bargaining. We analyze an ultimata game with two parties vying to coalesce with a randomly chosen proposer. They simultaneously demand shares of the surplus. The proposer must then make an offer that meets at least one demand, or else the game either continues with a new round or breaks down with all earning zero. Self-interest, altruism, and inequity aversion univocally predict miniscule demands due to inter-party competition; proposers thus obtain the lion's share. We experimentally observe that proposers coalesce with the less demanding party by strategically matching demands, like ultimatum bargaining, but also give non-strategically to the other party, like dictator giving. The observations are incompatible with concave utilities, as implied by social preferences, but are compatible with reference dependent preferences.

Suggested Citation

  • Breitmoser, Yves & Tan, Jonathan H.W., 2011. "Ultimata bargaining: generosity without social motives," MPRA Paper 33613, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  • Handle: RePEc:pra:mprapa:33613
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    File URL: https://mpra.ub.uni-muenchen.de/33613/1/MPRA_paper_33613.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    demand commitment; ultimata bargaining; non-cooperative; laboratory experiment; social preferences; reference dependence;

    JEL classification:

    • C78 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Game Theory and Bargaining Theory - - - Bargaining Theory; Matching Theory
    • D72 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - Political Processes: Rent-seeking, Lobbying, Elections, Legislatures, and Voting Behavior
    • C72 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Game Theory and Bargaining Theory - - - Noncooperative Games
    • C91 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments - - - Laboratory, Individual Behavior

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