Fairness and survival in ultimatum and dictatorship games

Andrew Schotter, Avi Weiss, Inigo Zapater

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

    Abstract

    Much of the debate surrounding ultimatum and dictatorship games centers around the question of fairness. Fairness, however, is not a concept that is devoid of context. What may be considered unfair when two people meet face to face or in a bilateral manner may be considered fair in a market context where economic survival is at stake. For example, it may be considered unfair in isolation to charge a high price for prescription drugs from people in need, but one's opinion of such an act might change if the economic survival of the company might be threatened if they failed to do so. Putting the survival issue aside the act seems brutal; including it allows one to make a justification. In the experiments presented in this paper we test the impact of survivability on the behavior of subjects in ultimatum and dictatorship games. While we give considerable support to the idea that market contexts affect peoples' behavior, there is still a number of unresolved issues.

    Original languageEnglish (US)
    Pages (from-to)37-56
    Number of pages20
    JournalJournal of Economic Behavior and Organization
    Volume31
    Issue number1
    DOIs
    StatePublished - Oct 1 1996

    Keywords

    • Dictatorship games
    • Fairness
    • Ultimatum games

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Economics and Econometrics
    • Organizational Behavior and Human Resource Management

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