Preferences, Property Rights and Anonymity in Bargaining Games

Abstract
"In this paper we report the results of ultimatum and dictator games experiments designed to explore the underlying reasons for this apparent taste for 'fairness.' We find that if the right to be the first mover is earned by scoring high on a general knowledge quiz, and that right is reinforced by the instructions as being earned, then first movers behave in a significantly more self-regarding manner. Because our instructional procedures for earning rights can be interpreted as a 'demand' treatment, but also to remove all social influences on choice, we conducted 'double blind' dictator experiments, in which individual subject decisions cannot be known by the experimenter or by anyone except the decision maker. The results yielded by far our largest observed number of self-regarding offers -- significantly more than obtained in any of our other treatments: or any previously reported in the literature. Our interpretation is that offers in ultimatum and dictator games appear to be determined predominantly by strategic and expectations considerations. Other-regarding behavior is primarily an expectations phenomenon, rather than the result of an autonomous private preference for equity."
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Keywords
game theory, preference, bargaining--models, property rights--models
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