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On the costs of kindness: An experimental investigation of guilty minds and negative reciprocity

  • Schubert, Manuel
  • Graf Lambsdorff, Johann

Psychology has inspired economics to recognize intentions in addition to outcomes as being relevant for utility and behavior. Reciprocal behavior, in particular, has been related to the kindness of chosen actions and how kindness can be derived from the benefits obtained in unchosen alternatives. This study shows that a richer understanding of kindness is required. We carry out ultimatum games with a reduced space of strategies and observe that subjects refrain from negative reciprocity (rejecting proposals) if an unchosen alternative was costly to the proposer. Second, we find proposers to anticipate this behavior. Not only the benefits are relevant for assessments of kindness, the costs of kindness matter as well.

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Paper provided by University of Passau, Faculty of Business and Economics in its series Passauer Diskussionspapiere, Volkswirtschaftliche Reihe with number V-64-12.

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Date of creation: 2012
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Handle: RePEc:zbw:upadvr:v6412
Contact details of provider: Postal: 94030 Passau
Phone: ++49 (0)851 509 0
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Web page: http://www.wiwi.uni-passau.de/index.php?L=2
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  1. Eckel, Catherine C. & Grossman, Philip J., 2008. "Men, Women and Risk Aversion: Experimental Evidence," Handbook of Experimental Economics Results, Elsevier.
  2. Georg Kirchsteiger & Martin Dufwenberg, 2004. "A theory of sequential reciprocity," ULB Institutional Repository 2013/5899, ULB -- Universite Libre de Bruxelles.
  3. 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.
  4. Rabin, Matthew, 1993. "Incorporating Fairness into Game Theory and Economics," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 83(5), pages 1281-1302, December.
  5. Armin Falk & Urs Fischbacher, . "A Theory of Reciprocity," IEW - Working Papers 006, Institute for Empirical Research in Economics - University of Zurich.
  6. Armin Falk & Ernst Fehr & Urs Fischbacher, . "On the Nature of Fair Behavior," IEW - Working Papers 017, Institute for Empirical Research in Economics - University of Zurich.
  7. David K Levine, 1997. "Modeling Altruism and Spitefulness in Experiments," Levine's Working Paper Archive 2047, David K. Levine.
  8. Fehr, Ernst & Schmidt, Klaus M., 1998. "A Theory of Fairness, Competition and Cooperation," CEPR Discussion Papers 1812, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  9. Schubert, Manuel, 2012. "Deeds rather than omissions: How intended consequences provoke negative reciprocity," Passauer Diskussionspapiere, Volkswirtschaftliche Reihe V-65-12, University of Passau, Faculty of Business and Economics.
  10. James C. Cox & Daniel Friedman & Steven Gjerstad, 2006. "A Tractable Model of Reciprocity and Fairness," Experimental Economics Center Working Paper Series 2006-05, Experimental Economics Center, Andrew Young School of Policy Studies, Georgia State University.
  11. Zephyr, 2010. "The city," City, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 14(1-2), pages 154-155, February.
  12. Gary E. Bolton & Axel Ockenfels, 2002. "A stress test of fairness measures in models of social utility," Papers on Strategic Interaction 2002-29, Max Planck Institute of Economics, Strategic Interaction Group.
  13. Sutter, Matthias, 2007. "Outcomes versus intentions: On the nature of fair behavior and its development with age," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 28(1), pages 69-78, January.
  14. Lambsdorff, Johann Graf & Frank, Björn, 2011. "Corrupt reciprocity - Experimental evidence on a men's game," International Review of Law and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 31(2), pages 116-125, June.
  15. Urs Fischbacher, 2007. "z-Tree: Zurich toolbox for ready-made economic experiments," Experimental Economics, Springer, vol. 10(2), pages 171-178, June.
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