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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. 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.
  2. Ernst Fehr & Georg Kirchsteiger & Arno Riedl, 1993. "Does Fairness Prevent Market Clearing? An Experimental Investigation," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 108(2), pages 437-459.
  3. 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.
  4. Ernst Fehr & Simon Gächter, 2000. "Fairness and Retaliation: The Economics of Reciprocity," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 14(3), pages 159-181, Summer.
  5. Charness, Gary & Rabin, Matthew, 2002. "Understanding Social Preferences with Simple Tests," Department of Economics, Working Paper Series qt3d04q5sm, Department of Economics, Institute for Business and Economic Research, UC Berkeley.
  6. Jim C. Cox & Daniel Friedman & Vjollca Sadiraj, 2005. "Revealed Altruism," Levine's Bibliography 784828000000000595, UCLA Department of Economics.
  7. Margin Dufwenberg & Georg Kirchsteiger, 2001. "A Theory of Sequential Reciprocity," Levine's Working Paper Archive 563824000000000090, David K. Levine.
  8. 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.
  9. George A. Akerlof, 1982. "Labor Contracts as Partial Gift Exchange," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 97(4), pages 543-569.
  10. Alexandre Mas, 2006. "Pay, Reference Points, and Police Performance," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 121(3), pages 783-821.
  11. Andreoni,J. & Brown,P.M. & Vesterlund,L., 1999. "What makes an allocation fair? : Some experimental evidence," Working papers 4, Wisconsin Madison - Social Systems.
  12. Brandts, Jordi & Sola, Carles, 2001. "Reference Points and Negative Reciprocity in Simple Sequential Games," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 36(2), pages 138-157, August.
  13. 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.
  14. 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.
  15. M. Rabin, 2001. "Incorporating Fairness into Game Theory and Economics," Levine's Working Paper Archive 511, David K. Levine.
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