nep-cbe New Economics Papers
on Cognitive and Behavioural Economics
Issue of 2018‒10‒01
two papers chosen by
Marco Novarese
Università degli Studi del Piemonte Orientale

  1. The Role of Morals in Three-Player Ultimatum Games By CASAL Sandro; FALLUCCHI Francesco; QUERCIA Simone
  2. Instrumental reciprocity as an error By Reuben, E.; Suetens, Sigrid

  1. By: CASAL Sandro; FALLUCCHI Francesco; QUERCIA Simone
    Abstract: We experimentally investigate the role of moral concerns in three-player ultimatum bargaining. In our experimental paradigm, proposers can increase the overall size of the pie at the expenses of an NGO that conducts humanitarian aid in emergency areas. In a first study, we find that responders are not willing to engage in ?immoral? transactions only when fully informed about proposers? behavior toward the NGO. Under complete information, their willingness to reject offers increases with the strength of the harm to the NGO. Moreover, the possibility to compensate the NGO through rejection further increases their willingness to reject. In a second study aimed at gauging the importance of different motives behind rejections, we show that the two most prevalent motives are to compensate the NGO or to diminish inequality between responders and proposers. Punishing proposers? unkind intentions towards the NGO or rejecting on the basis of pure deontological reasons constitute less important motives.
    Keywords: mini ultimatum game; morals; experiment
    JEL: C72 C91 D64
    Date: 2018–09
  2. By: Reuben, E.; Suetens, Sigrid (Tilburg University, School of Economics and Management)
    Abstract: We study the strategies used by experimental subjects in repeated sequential prisoners’ dilemma games to identify the underlying motivations behind instrumental reciprocity—that is, reciprocating cooperation only as long as there is future interaction. Importantly, we designed the games so that instrumental reciprocity is a mistake for payoff-maximizing individuals irrespective of their beliefs. We find that, despite the fact instrumental reciprocity is suboptimal, it one of the most important reasons why subjects cooperate. Moreover, although the use of instrumental reciprocity is sensitive to the costs of deviating from the payoff-maximizing strategy, these costs alone cannot explain the high frequency with which subjects choose to reciprocate instrumentally.
    Date: 2018

This nep-cbe issue is ©2018 by Marco Novarese. It is provided as is without any express or implied warranty. It may be freely redistributed in whole or in part for any purpose. If distributed in part, please include this notice.
General information on the NEP project can be found at For comments please write to the director of NEP, Marco Novarese at <>. Put “NEP” in the subject, otherwise your mail may be rejected.
NEP’s infrastructure is sponsored by the School of Economics and Finance of Massey University in New Zealand.