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Inequality aversion causes equal or unequal division in alternating-offer bargaining

  • Kohler, Stefan

This note presents a solution to Rubinstein (1982)'s open-ended, alternating-offer bargaining problem for two equally patient bargainers that exhibit similar degrees of inequality aversion. Inequality-averse bargainers may perceive envy if being worse off and guilt if being better off, but they still reach agreement in the first period under complete information. If the perceived guilt is strong, then the inequality-averse bargainers split the bargaining surplus equally regardless of their degree of envy. If guilt is weak, then the agreed split is tilted away from the Rubinstein division towards a more unequal split. Envy and weak guilt have opposite effects on the bargaining outcome, and envy has a greater marginal impact than weak guilt. Similarly inequality-averse bargainers agree on the Rubinstein division if the strength of envy equals the discounted strength of guilt. As both bargainers sensation of inequality aversion diminishes, the bargaining outcome converges to the Rubinstein division.

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Paper provided by University Library of Munich, Germany in its series MPRA Paper with number 40764.

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Date of creation: 06 Jul 2013
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:pra:mprapa:40764
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  1. Ana Mauleon & Vincent Vannetelbosch, 2013. "Relative Concerns and Delays in Bargaining with Private Information," Games, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 4(3), pages 329-338, June.
  2. Maria Montero, 2008. "Altruism, Spite and Competition in Bargaining Games," Theory and Decision, Springer, vol. 65(2), pages 125-151, September.
  3. Maria Montero, 2007. "Inequity Aversion May Increase Inequity," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 117(519), pages C192-C204, 03.
  4. Dorothea K. Herreiner & Clemens Puppe, 2004. "Envy Freeness in Experimental Fair Division Problems," Bonn Econ Discussion Papers bgse28_2004, University of Bonn, Germany.
  5. Roth, Alvin E, 1985. "A Note on Risk Aversion in a Perfect Equilibrium Model of Bargaining," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 53(1), pages 207-11, January.
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  7. Goeree, Jacob K. & Holt, Charles A., 2000. "Asymmetric inequality aversion and noisy behavior in alternating-offer bargaining games," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 44(4-6), pages 1079-1089, May.
  8. Kohler, Stefan, 2012. "Guilt causes equal or unequal division in alternating-offer bargaining," MPRA Paper 40760, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  9. Ariel Rubinstein, 2010. "Perfect Equilibrium in a Bargaining Model," Levine's Working Paper Archive 252, David K. Levine.
  10. 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.
  11. Jonathan Tan & Friedel Bolle, 2006. "On the Relative Strengths of Altruism and Fairness," Theory and Decision, Springer, vol. 60(1), pages 35-67, 02.
  12. Kohler, Stefan, 2011. "Altruism and fairness in experimental decisions," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 80(1), pages 101-109.
  13. Bellemare, C. & Kroger, S. & van Soest, A.H.O., 2008. "Measuring inequity aversion in a heterogeneous population using experimental decisions and subjective probabilities," Other publications TiSEM f17bda32-98f9-4580-ab3f-6, Tilburg University, School of Economics and Management.
  14. 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.
  15. repec:oup:qjecon:v:114:y:1999:i:3:p:817-868 is not listed on IDEAS
  16. Engelmann, Dirk, 2012. "How not to extend models of inequality aversion," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 81(2), pages 599-605.
  17. Shaked, Avner & Sutton, John, 1984. "Involuntary Unemployment as a Perfect Equilibrium in a Bargaining Model," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 52(6), pages 1351-64, November.
  18. Stefan Kohler, 2012. "Incomplete Information about Social Preferences Explains Equal Division and Delay in Bargaining," Games, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 3(3), pages 119-137, September.
  19. 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.
  20. Kohler, Stefan, 2012. "Envy can promote more equal division in alternating-offer bargaining," MPRA Paper 40761, University Library of Munich, Germany.
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