Know Your Neighbor: The Impact of Social Context on Fairness Behavior

Paper published in PLoS ONE: 2018, 13(4), 1-11

29 Pages Posted: 10 Feb 2020

See all articles by Neelanjan Sircar

Neelanjan Sircar

affiliation not provided to SSRN

Ty Turley

affiliation not provided to SSRN

Peter Van der Windt

New York University (NYU) - New York University Abu Dhabi

Maarten Voors

Wageningen UR

Date Written: June 6, 2018

Abstract

Laboratory experiments offer an opportunity to isolate human behaviors with a level of precision that is often difficult to obtain using other (survey-based) methods. Yet, experimental tasks are often stripped of any social context, implying that inferences may not directly map to real world contexts. We randomly allocate 632 individuals (grouped randomly into 316 dyads) from small villages in Sierra Leone to four versions of the ultimatum game. In addition to the classic ultimatum game, where both the sender and receiver are anonymous, we reveal the identity of the sender, the receiver or both. This design allows us to explore how fairness behavior is affected by social context in a natural setting where players are drawn from populations that are well-acquainted. We find that average offers increase when the receiver's identity is revealed, suggesting that anonymous ultimatum games underestimate expected fair offers. This study suggest that researchers wishing to relate laboratory behavior to contexts in which the participants are well-acquainted should consider revealing the identities of the players during game play.

Keywords: Experiments, Sierra Leone, Social Context, Altruism

JEL Classification: D64, C90

Suggested Citation

Sircar, Neelanjan and Turley, Ty and Van der Windt, Peter and Voors, Maarten, Know Your Neighbor: The Impact of Social Context on Fairness Behavior (June 6, 2018). Paper published in PLoS ONE: 2018, 13(4), 1-11, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3520452

Neelanjan Sircar

affiliation not provided to SSRN

Ty Turley

affiliation not provided to SSRN

Peter Van der Windt (Contact Author)

New York University (NYU) - New York University Abu Dhabi ( email )

Abu Dhabi
United Arab Emirates

Maarten Voors

Wageningen UR ( email )

Hollandseweg 1
Wageningen, 6706KN
Netherlands

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