Market Integration, Reciprocity, and Fairness in Rural Papua New Guinea

David P. Tracer

in Foundations of Human Sociality

Published in print March 2004 | ISBN: 9780199262052
Published online January 2005 | e-ISBN: 9780191601637 | DOI:
 Market Integration, Reciprocity, and Fairness in Rural Papua New Guinea

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In order to test the proposition that performance in bargaining experiments is significantly affected by degree of monetarization, market integration, and relative westernization, a one‐shot Ultimatum Game was conducted during the months of June and July 1998 in two villages in a rural region of Papua New Guinea: Anguganak (where the people speak Au) and Bogasip (where they speak Gnau). Although the villages are located in close proximity to one another and are relatively homogeneous culturally, and both subsist using a mixture of foraging and horticulture and have an elaborate system of exchange relationships, they are distinguished by their average degree of exposure to and integration in a cash‐based economy, as well as their degree of education (both are greater in Anguganak). The different sections of the chapter provide: an ethnographic account of the two villages; a description of the experimental methods employed; a presentation and analysis of the results in terms of various indicators of wealth and market integration; and a discussion of the implications of the results. The level of offers made in the Ultimatum Game data combined for Anguganak and Bogasip were between those in western industrialized populations and the Machiguenga of Peru. There was some indication that variability in the level of market integration between the two village populations may have influenced the results, although they appeared to be equally influenced by local beliefs on reciprocity, generosity, and indebtedness, and an unfamiliarity with impersonal transactions.

Keywords: Au; bargaining; ethnography; exchange relationships; fairness; forager–horticulturalists; generosity; Gnau; indebtedness; market integration; monetarization; Papua New Guinea; reciprocity; Ultimatum Game; westernization

Chapter.  10019 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Microeconomics

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