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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
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Handle: RePEc:pra:mprapa:40764
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  1. MAULEON, Ana & VANNETELBOSCH, Vincent, 2013. "Relative concerns and delays in bargaining with private information," CORE Discussion Papers 2013034, Université catholique de Louvain, Center for Operations Research and Econometrics (CORE).
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  4. Jacob K. Goeree & Charles A. Holt, . "Asymmetric Inequality Aversion and Noisy Behavior in Alternating-Offer Bargaining Games," Virginia Economics Online Papers 329, University of Virginia, Department of Economics.
  5. Fehr, Ernst & Schmidt, Klaus M., 1998. "A Theory of Fairness, Competition and Cooperation," CEPR Discussion Papers 1812, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  6. Kohler, Stefan, 2012. "Envy can promote more equal division in alternating-offer bargaining," MPRA Paper 40761, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  7. Ariel Rubinstein, 2010. "Perfect Equilibrium in a Bargaining Model," Levine's Working Paper Archive 661465000000000387, David K. Levine.
  8. 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.
  9. Stefan Kohler, 2014. "Guilt causes equal or unequal division in alternating-offer bargaining," Economics Bulletin, AccessEcon, vol. 34(3), pages 1611-1617.
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  11. Dorothea Herreiner & Clemens Puppe, 2009. "Envy Freeness in Experimental Fair Division Problems," Theory and Decision, Springer, vol. 67(1), pages 65-100, July.
  12. 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.
  13. Maria Montero, 2008. "Altruism, Spite and Competition in Bargaining Games," Theory and Decision, Springer, vol. 65(2), pages 125-151, September.
  14. Kohler, Stefan, 2011. "Altruism and fairness in experimental decisions," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 80(1), pages 101-109.
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  17. 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.
  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, September.
  19. Abigail Barr & Chris Wallace & Jean Ensminger & Joseph Henrich & Clark Barrette & Alexander Bolyanatz & Juan Camilo Cardenas & Michael Gurven & Edwins Gwako & Carolyn Lesorogol & Frank Marlowe & Richa, 2009. "Homo Æqualis: A Cross-Society Experimental Analysis of Three Bargaining Games," CSAE Working Paper Series 2009-02, Centre for the Study of African Economies, University of Oxford.
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