, Volume 34, Issue 1, pp 63–88

Individual versus group behavior and the role of the decision making procedure in gift-exchange experiments

Original Paper

DOI: 10.1007/s10663-006-9026-8

Cite this article as:
Kocher, M.G. & Sutter, M. Empirica (2007) 34: 63. doi:10.1007/s10663-006-9026-8


We test for behavioral differences between groups and individuals in gift-exchange experiments. Related studies in economics establish group behavior as often closer to the standard game-theoretic equilibrium under the assumptions of rationality and selfishness. We show that this result may depend crucially on the decision making procedure within groups and the nature of the task. A novel experimental decision making protocol opens the black box of group decision making and allows tracking important features of the group interaction process. We are also able to show that acting in a group may shift initial individual choices.


Gift-exchange experiment Group behavior Individual behavior Decision making Reciprocity 

JEL Classification

C72 C91 C92 D70 

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Economics, Institute of Public FinanceUniversity of InnsbruckInnsbruckAustria
  2. 2.University of AmsterdamAmsterdamNetherlands
  3. 3.University of CologneKölnGermany

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