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The importance of foregone options

  • Ana Espinola-Arredondo
  • Felix Munoz-Garcia

    ()

    (School of Economic Sciences, Washington State University)

Recent experimental evidence supports the influence of a player's unchosen alternatives in other agent's actions. This paper examines a tractable theoretical model of reference-dependent preferences in which individuals compare other players'chosen action with respect to their un- chosen alternatives. We analyze the equilibrium prediction in complete information sequential- move games, and compare it with that of standard games where players are not concerned about unchosen alternatives. We show that, without relying on interpersonal payo¤ comparisons (i.e., with strictly individualistic agents), our model predicts higher cooperation among the players than standard game-theoretic models. We apply our results in three economic contexts: the labor market gift exchange game, the ultimatum bargaining game, and the sequential public good game. Revised Feb. 2009

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File URL: http://faculty.ses.wsu.edu/WorkingPapers/AnaEspinola/Espinola_FORGONE.pdf
File Function: First version, 2008
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Paper provided by School of Economic Sciences, Washington State University in its series Working Papers with number 2008-14.

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Length: 27 pages
Date of creation: Feb 2009
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:wsu:wpaper:espinola-2
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  1. Charness, Gary B & Rabin, Matthew, 2001. "Understanding Social Preferences With Simple Tests," University of California at Santa Barbara, Economics Working Paper Series qt0dc3k4m5, Department of Economics, UC Santa Barbara.
  2. Fehr, Ernst & Kirchsteiger, George & Riedl, Arno, 1993. "Does Fairness Prevent Market Clearing? An Experimental Investigation," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 108(2), pages 437-59, May.
  3. Georg Kirchsteiger & Martin Dufwenberg, 2004. "A theory of sequential reciprocity," ULB Institutional Repository 2013/5899, ULB -- Universite Libre de Bruxelles.
  4. Uzi Segal & Joel Sobel, 1999. "Tit for Tat: Foundations of Preferences for Reciprocity in Strategic Settings," UWO Department of Economics Working Papers 9905, University of Western Ontario, Department of Economics.
  5. Matthew Rabin., 1992. "Incorporating Fairness into Game Theory and Economics," Economics Working Papers 92-199, University of California at Berkeley.
  6. James C. Cox & Daniel Friedman & Vjollca Sadiraj, 2008. "Revealed Altruism," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 76(1), pages 31-69, 01.
  7. Ernst Fehr & Klaus M. Schmidt, . "A Theory of Fairness, Competition and Cooperation," IEW - Working Papers 004, Institute for Empirical Research in Economics - University of Zurich.
  8. Ernst Fehr & Simon Gaechter, 2000. "Fairness and Retaliation: The Economics of Reciprocity," CESifo Working Paper Series 336, CESifo Group Munich.
  9. Brandts, J. & Sola, C., 1998. "Reference Points and Negative Reciprocity in Simple Sequential Games," UFAE and IAE Working Papers 425.98, Unitat de Fonaments de l'Anàlisi Econòmica (UAB) and Institut d'Anàlisi Econòmica (CSIC).
  10. Alexandre Mas, 2006. "Pay, Reference Points, and Police Performance," NBER Working Papers 12202, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  11. 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.
  12. Andreoni, James & Brown, Paul M. & Vesterlund, Lise, 2002. "What Makes an Allocation Fair? Some Experimental Evidence," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 40(1), pages 1-24, July.
  13. Guth, Werner & Schmittberger, Rolf & Schwarze, Bernd, 1982. "An experimental analysis of ultimatum bargaining," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 3(4), pages 367-388, December.
  14. Loomes, Graham & Sugden, Robert, 1982. "Regret Theory: An Alternative Theory of Rational Choice under Uncertainty," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 92(368), pages 805-24, December.
  15. Akerlof, George A, 1982. "Labor Contracts as Partial Gift Exchange," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 97(4), pages 543-69, November.
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