Everyone Wants a Chance : Initial Positions and Fairness in Ultimatum Games

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Working paper
Gianluca Grimalda , Anirban Kar and Eugenio Proto
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University of Warwick
Fairness emerges as a relevant factor in redistributive preferences in surveys and experiments. We study experimentally the impact of vary- ing the probability with which players are assigned to initial positions in Ultimatum Games (UGs). In the baseline case players have equal opportunities of being assigned the proposer position –arguably the more advantaged one in UGs. Chances become increasingly unequal across three treatments. We also manipulate the inter-temporal allo- cation of opportunities over rounds. We …nd that: (1) The more initial chances are distributed unequally, the lower the acceptance rates of a given o¤er; consequently, o¤ers increase; (2) Being assigned a mere 1% chance of occupying the proposer role compared to none, signi…cantly increases acceptance rates and decreases o¤ers; (3) Players accept even extreme amounts of unequal chances within each round in exchange for overall equality of opportunities across rounds. Procedural fairness –both static and dynamic - has clear relevance for individuals.
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