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Social status and bargaining when resources are scarce: Evidence from a field lab experiment

  • Ben D'Exelle

    (CBESS, University of East Anglia)

  • Els Lecoutere

    (Ghent University)

  • Bjorn Van Campenhout

    (University of Antwerp)

This paper studies how individual social status influences bilateral bargaining in small-scale societies where resources are scarce. It reports the results of a field lab experiment with members of irrigation schemes who participate either as water distributors or receivers. Our results indicate that social status influences bargaining behavior in two ways. First, with social status being positively correlated with economic wealth, our results confirm a self-serving bias in fairness conceptions. Second, social status influences how receivers react to the received share as well as how distributors adapt their distributive decisions after the receivers' reaction. We also highlight implications of the results for the efficient use of scarce resources.

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Paper provided by School of Economics, University of East Anglia, Norwich, UK. in its series Working Paper series, University of East Anglia, Centre for Behavioural and Experimental Social Science (CBESS) with number 10-09.

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Date of creation: 01 Aug 2010
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Handle: RePEc:uea:wcbess:10-09
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  15. Bjorn F.H. Van Campenhout, 2007. "Locally Adapted Poverty Indicators Derived from Participatory Wealth Rankings: A Case of Four Villages in Rural Tanzania," Journal of African Economies, Centre for the Study of African Economies (CSAE), vol. 16(3), pages 406-438, June.
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