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Social Comparisons as a device for cooperation in simultaneous-move games

  • Felix Munoz-Garcia

    ()

    (School of Economic Sciences, Washington State University)

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    This paper analyzes the effects of players' relative comparisons in complete information simultaneous-move games. In particular, every individual is assumed to evaluate the kindness she infers from other players'choices by comparing these choices with respect to a given refer- ence level. Specifically, this paper identifies under what conditions the introduction of relative comparisons leads players to be more cooperative than in standard game-theoretic models. I show that this result holds under certain conditions on the specific reference point that players use in their relative comparisons, and on whether players'relative comparisons leads them to regard each others' actions as more strategic complementary or substitutable. The model is then applied to different examples in public good games which enhance the intuition behind the results. Finally, I show that some existing models in the literature of intentions-based reciprocity and social status acquisition can be rationalized as special cases.

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    File URL: http://faculty.ses.wsu.edu/WorkingPapers/Munoz/Reference-points-simultaneous-move-games.pdf
    File Function: First version, 2008
    Download Restriction: no

    Paper provided by School of Economic Sciences, Washington State University in its series Working Papers with number 2008-11.

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    Length: 24 pages
    Date of creation: Aug 2008
    Date of revision:
    Handle: RePEc:wsu:wpaper:munoz-1
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    1. Charness, Gary & Rabin, Matthew, 2001. "Understanding Social Preferences with Simple Tests," Department of Economics, Working Paper Series qt4qz9k8vg, Department of Economics, Institute for Business and Economic Research, UC Berkeley.
    2. Georg Kirchsteiger & Martin Dufwenberg, 2004. "A theory of sequential reciprocity," ULB Institutional Repository 2013/5899, ULB -- Universite Libre de Bruxelles.
    3. Rabin, Matthew, 1993. "Incorporating Fairness into Game Theory and Economics," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 83(5), pages 1281-1302, December.
    4. Botond Koszegi & Matthew Rabin, 2004. "A Model of Reference-Dependent Preferences," Method and Hist of Econ Thought 0407001, EconWPA.
    5. Fehr, Ernst & Schmidt, Klaus M., . "A theory of fairness, competition, and cooperation," Chapters in Economics, University of Munich, Department of Economics.
    6. 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.
    7. 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.
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