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Ownership, punishment, and norms in a real-effort bargaining experiment

Garret Ridinger

Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, 2018, vol. 155, issue C, 382-402

Abstract: This paper examines the importance of prior ownership and punishment in bargaining over a jointly produced surplus. Using a laboratory experiment, participants jointly produce a surplus using a real effort task with the entire surplus given to the person who put in higher effort. Participants then bargain over the surplus in a series of ultimatum games. Treatments varied whether the proposer or responder received the surplus prior to bargaining and the threat point of the responder. The results suggest that proposers respect prior ownership when the responder has a strong ability to punish, but not when punishment is weak. Responders respect prior ownership when their ability to punish is weak, but reject at high rates when they have strong punishment. An independent measure of individual sensitivity to rule following can explain some of the results, adding support to the theory that individual behavior in bargaining is driven in part by adherence to social norms.

Keywords: Bargaining; Ownership; Social norms; Real effort (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: C70 C90 D63 D74 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2018
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