Sex Differences in the Ultimatum Game: An Evolutionary Psychology Perspective
Rent the article at a discountRent now
* Final gross prices may vary according to local VAT.Get Access
In the two-person ultimatum game, an allocator is required to split a given sum of money with a recipient. Subsequently the recipient can either accept or reject the offer. If it is accepted, both players receive their respective splits, while if it is rejected neither of them get anything. Using evolutionary psychology as the theoretical framework, we predicted and found that males made more generous offers when pitted against a female as opposed to a male. While females made equal offers independently of the sex of the recipient. That male allocators are altruistic towards female recipients and competitive with male recipients is construed as a manifestation of social rules, which evolve from the male pre-disposition to use resources for attracting mates. In contrast, females have not evolved such a pre-disposition, and thus, female allocators are more concerned about fairness when making offers to recipients. Several alternate explanations of the above findings are discussed and the evolutionary explanation is concluded as the most parsimonious one. Other potential moderators that are amenable to evolutionary explanations, namely, physical attractiveness, age and ethnicity of participants, are also discussed in this context.
- Archer, John. 1996. Sex differences in social behavior: are social role and evolutionaryexplanations compatible? American Psychologist 51(9):909–917. CrossRef
- Brown-Kruse, Jamie & David Hummels. 1993. Gender effects in laboratorypublic goods contribution: do individuals put their moneywhere their mouth is? Journal of Economic Behavior and Organization 22:255–267. CrossRef
- Buss, David M. 1989. Sex differences in human mate preferences: evolutionaryhypotheses tested in 37 cultures. Behavioral and Brain Sciences, 12:1–49. CrossRef
- Buss, David M. 1996. The evolutionarypsychologyof human social strategies. Pp. 3–38 in E. Tory Higgins & Arie W. Kruglanski (ed.) Social Psychology: Handbook of Basic Principles, The Guilford Press, New York.
- Buss, David M. & David P. Schmitt. 1993. Sexual strategies theory: an evolutionary perspective on human mating. Psychological Review 100:204–232. CrossRef
- Cadsby, C. Bram & Elizabeth Maynes. 1998. Gender and free riding in a threshold public goods game: experimental evidence. Journal of Conflict Resolution 34(4):603–620.
- Camerer, Colin & Richard H. Thaler. 1995. Anomalies: ultimatums, dictators and manners. Journal of Economic Perspectives 9:209–219.
- Cason, TimothyN. & Vai-Lam Mui. 1997. A laboratorystudyof group polarization in the team dictator game. Economic Journal 107(444):1465–1483. CrossRef
- Cosmides, Leda & John Tooby. 1992. Cognitive adaptations for social exchange. Pp. 163–228 in J. H. Barkow, L. Cosmides & J. Tooby(ed.) The Adapted Mind: EvolutionaryPsychologyand the Generation of Culture, Oxford UniversityPress, New York.
- Cottrell, Nickolas B. 1968. Performance in the presence of other human beings. Mere presence, audience and affiliation effects. Pp. 91–110 in E. C. Simmel, R. A. Hoppe & G. A. Milton (ed.). Social Facilitation and Imitative Behavior. Allyn & Bacon, Boston.
- Daly, Martin & Wilson, Margo. 1985. Child abuse and other risks of not living with both parents. Ethology & Sociobiology6(4):197–210. CrossRef
- Eagly, Alice. 1987. Sex differences in social behavior: a social role theory interpretation. Hillsdale, NJ: Earlbaum.
- Eckel, Catherine C. & Philip J. Grossman. 1992. Chivalryand solidarityin ultimatum games. Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University Working Paper in Economics: E92–23. As catalogued in EconLit abstracts.
- Eckel, Catherine C. & Philip J. Grossman. 1996. The relative price of fairness: gender differences in a punishment game. Journal of Economic Behavior and Organization 30:143–158. CrossRef
- Feingold, Alan. 1992. Gender differences in mate selection preferences: a test of the parental investment model. Psychological Bulletin 112:125–139. CrossRef
- Greenlees, Ian A. & William C. McGrew. 1994. Sex and age differences in preferences and tactics of mate attraction: analysis of published advertisements. Ethology and Sociobiology 15:59–72. CrossRef
- GuÈth, Werner, Rolf Schmittberger & Bernd Schwartze. 1982. An experimental analysis of ultimatum bargaining. Journal of Economic Behavior and Organization 3:367–388. CrossRef
- Hamilton, William D. 1964. The genetical evolution of social behavior. Journal of Theoretical Biology7:1–52. CrossRef
- Hoffman, Elizabeth, Kevin McCabe & Vernon Smith. 1996. Social distance and other-regarding behavior in dictator games. American Economic Review 86(3):653–660.
- Kahn, Arnold, Joe Hottes & William L. Davis. 1971. Cooperation and optimal responding in the prisoner's dilemma game: effects of sex and physical attractiveness. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 17:267–279. CrossRef
- Kahneman, Daniel, Jack L. Knetsch & Richard H. Thaler. 1986. Fairness and the assumptions of economics. Journal of Business 59:285–300. CrossRef
- Kohler, Maxie P. 1996. Risk-taking behavior: a cognitive approach. Psychological Reports 78:489–490.
- Larose, Helene, Joanne Tracy & Stuart J. McKelvie. 1993. Effect of gender on physical attractiveness stereotype. Journal of Psychology 127:677–680.
- Major, Brenda & Blythe Forcey. 1985. Social comparisons and pay evaluations: preferences for same-sex and same-job wage comparisons. Journal of Experimental Social Psychology 21:393–405. CrossRef
- Mason, Charles F., Owen R. Phillips & Douglas B. Redington. 1991. The role of gender in a non-cooperative game. Journal of Economic Behavior and Organization 15:215–235. CrossRef
- Murnighan, J. Keith & Michael S. Saxon. 1998. Ultimatum bargaining bychildren and adults. Journal of Economic Psychology 19(4):415–445. CrossRef
- Ortmann, Andreas & Lisa K. Tichy. 1999. Gender differences in the laboratory: evidence from prisoner's dilemma games. Journal of Economic Behavior and Organization 39(3):327–339. CrossRef
- Powell, Melanie & David Ansic. 1997. Gender differences in risk behavior in financial decision-making: an experimental analysis. Journal of Economic Psychology 18:605–628. CrossRef
- Rapoport, Anatol & Albert M. Chammah. 1965. Sex differences in factors contributing to the level of cooperation in the prisoner's dilemma game. Journal of Personalityand Social Psychology2:831–838. CrossRef
- Ridley, Matt. 1996. The origins of virtue: human instincts and the evolution of cooperation. Penguin Books, London, UK.
- Robert, Christopher & Peter J. Carnevale. 1997. Group choice in ultimatum bargaining. Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes 72:256–279. CrossRef
- Rosenthal, Robert. 1966. Experimenter effects in behavioral research. Appleton-Century-Crofts, New York.
- Roth, Alvin E., Vesna Prasnikar, Shmuel Zamir & Masahiro Okuno-Fujiwara. 1991. Bargaining and market behavior in Jerusalem, Ljubljana, Pittsburgh, and Tokyo: an experimental study. American Economic Review 81:1068–1095.
- Saad, Gad & Tripat Gill. 2001. The effects of a recipient's gender in a modified dictator game. Applied Economics Letters. 8(7):463–466. CrossRef
- Schmitt, David P. & David M. Buss. 1996. Strategic self-promotion and competitor derogation: sex and context effects on the perceived effectiveness of mate attraction tactics. Journal of Personalityand Social Psychology 70(6):1185–1204. CrossRef
- Solnick, Sara J. & Maurice E. Schweitzer. 1999. The influence of physical attractiveness and gender on ultimatum game decisions. Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes 79(3):199–215. CrossRef
- Thaler, Richard H. 1988. Anomalies: the ultimatum game. Journal of Economic Perspectives 2:195–206.
- Tooby, John & Leda Cosmides. 1992. Psychological foundations of culture. Pp. 19–136 in J. H. Barkow, L. Cosmides & J. Tooby(ed.) The Adapted Mind: EvolutionaryPsychologyand the Generation of Culture, Oxford UniversityPress, New York.
- Trivers, Robert L. 1972. Parental investment and sexual selection. Pp. 136–179 in B. Campbell (ed.) Sexual Selection and the Descent of Man, 1871-1971, Chicago, Aldine.
- Witt, L. Alan & Lendell G. Nye. 1992. Gender and the relationship between perceived fairness of pay or promotion and job satisfaction. Journal of Applied Psychology 77:910–917. CrossRef
- Zajonc, Robert B. 1965. Social facilitation. Science 149:269–274.
- Sex Differences in the Ultimatum Game: An Evolutionary Psychology Perspective
Journal of Bioeconomics
Volume 3, Issue 2-3 , pp 171-193
- Cover Date
- Print ISSN
- Online ISSN
- Kluwer Academic Publishers
- Additional Links
- economic games
- human sex differences
- social behavior