Fairness in simple bargaining experiments

Robert Forsythe, Joel L. Horowitz, N. E. Savin, Martin Sefton

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1266 Scopus citations


We present an experiment to test whether fairness alone can explain proposers′ willingness to make nontrivial offers in simple bargaining games. We examine two treatments: game (ultimatum or dictator) and pay (pay or no pay). The outcomes of the ultimatum and dictator games with pay are significantly different, implying that fairness, by itself, cannot explain the observed behavior. Doubling the amount of money available in games with pay does not affect these results. The outcomes of both games are replicable when players are paid, but the outcome of the ultimatum game is not replicable when players are not paid. Journal of Economic Literature Classification Numbers: 026, 215.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)347-369
Number of pages23
JournalGames and Economic Behavior
Issue number3
StatePublished - May 1994

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Finance
  • Economics and Econometrics


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