Chapter

Coalitional Effects on Reciprocal Fairness in the Ultimatum Game: A Case from the Ecuadorian Amazon

John Q. Patton

in Foundations of Human Sociality

Published in print March 2004 | ISBN: 9780199262052
Published online January 2005 | e-ISBN: 9780191601637 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/0199262055.003.0004
 Coalitional Effects on Reciprocal Fairness in the Ultimatum Game: A Case from the Ecuadorian Amazon

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Data are reported from an Ultimatum Game played in the community of Conambo, in a remote corner of the Ecuadorian Amazon, in the summer of 1998. The Conambo comprise two ethnic/political groups (the Achuar and Quichua) who share common hunting, fishing, gathering, and horticultural lifeways, but who play the Ultimatum Game differently, coming to different conclusions as to what constitutes a fair offer (reciprocal fairness). The chapter provides a brief theoretical background for this study, describes some of the differences and similarities of the two Conambo groups, presents the Ultimatum Game data, and argues that differences in performance in the game are due to differences in coalitional stability, perceptions of trust, and needs to maintain reputation. Members of the less stable coalition (the Quichua) have lower expectations that acts of cooperation will be reciprocated in the future. This difference in trust results in different judgments as to what offers to propose in the Ultimatum Game, and to differences in the importance of maintaining a reputation as a fair player.

Keywords: Achuar; coalitional effects; coalitional stability; Conambo; cooperation; Ecuador; ethnic groups; fair play; perceptions of trust; political groups; Quichua; reciprocal fairness; reputation; Ultimatum Game

Chapter.  9353 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Microeconomics

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