Parity, sympathy and reciprocity

Werner Güth, Menahem E. Yaari

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


In this chapter, we consider the results of an experiment in which subjects had deviated systematically from the pursuit and maximization of personal gain. We hypothesize that these departures from self-seeking behaviour are caused by one or more of the following factors: (a) Parity (also known as inequality aversion): in choosing among actions, individuals may be attempting to promote equality of outcomes, even at the cost of some reduction in unilateral personal gain; (b) Sympathy (also known as altruism): in choosing among actions, individuals may be taking into account not only their own unilateral gains (or losses) but also the gains (or losses) of others; (c) Reciprocity: in choosing among actions, individuals may be motivated, to some extent, by a desire to apply measure for measure - that is, to reward kindness and unkindness in like manner.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationAdvances in Understanding Strategic Behaviour
Subtitle of host publicationGame Theory, Experiments and Bounded Rationality
PublisherPalgrave Macmillan
Number of pages16
ISBN (Electronic)9780230523371
ISBN (Print)9781403941527
StatePublished - 1 Jan 2004
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© Palgrave Macmillan, a division of Macmillan Publishers Limited 2004.


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