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The Impact of Exchange Context on the Activation of Equity in Ultimatum Games

Elizabeth Hoffman (), Kevin McCabe () and Vernon Smith

Experimental Economics, 2000, vol. 3, issue 1, 5-9

Abstract: In this paper we report the results of additional exchange ultimatum game experiments conducted at the same time as the exchange ultimatum game experiments reported in Hoffman et al. (Games and Economic Behavior, 7(3), pp. 346–380, 1994). In these additional experiments, we use instructions to change an impersonal exchange situation to a personal exchange situation. To do this, we prompt sellers to consider what choices their buyers will make. Game theory would predict that thinking about the situation would lead sellers to make smaller offers to buyers. In contrast, we find a significant increase in seller offers to buyers. This result suggests that encouraging sellers to thinking about buyer choices focuses their attention on the strategic interaction with humans who think they way they do in personal exchange situations, and who may punish them for unacceptable behavior, and not on the logic of the game theoretic structure of the problem. Copyright Kluwer Academic Publishers 2000

Keywords: ultimatum games; equity theory; experimental methods (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2000
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