The Situationist

The Situation of Fairness

Posted by The Situationist Staff on July 22, 2011

Carlos Alós-Ferrer, Anja Achtziger, and Alexander Wagner, recently posted their paper “Social Preferences and Self-Control” on SSRN.

We study the interaction of different motives and decision processes in determining behavior in the ultimatum game. We rely on an experimental manipulation called ego depletion which consumes self-control resources, thereby enhancing the influence of default reactions or, in psychological terms, automatic processes. We find that proposers make lower offers under ego depletion, i.e. self-centered monetary concerns are the default mode and not other-regarding considerations (fairness towards others). Responders are more likely to reject low offers under ego depletion, i.e. the affect-influenced reaction to reject unfair offers (reaction to unfairness towards oneself) is more automatic than unconditional monetary concerns.

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You can download the paper for free here.

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