Journal of Bioeconomics

, Volume 3, Issue 2–3, pp 171–193 | Cite as

Sex Differences in the Ultimatum Game: An Evolutionary Psychology Perspective

  • Gad Saad
  • Tripat Gill
Discussion

Abstract

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.

economic games human sex differences social behavior 

Preview

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

References cited

  1. Archer, John. 1996. Sex differences in social behavior: are social role and evolutionaryexplanations compatible? American Psychologist 51(9):909–917.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. 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.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Buss, David M. 1989. Sex differences in human mate preferences: evolutionaryhypotheses tested in 37 cultures. Behavioral and Brain Sciences, 12:1–49.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. 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.Google Scholar
  5. Buss, David M. & David P. Schmitt. 1993. Sexual strategies theory: an evolutionary perspective on human mating. Psychological Review 100:204–232.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. 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.Google Scholar
  7. Camerer, Colin & Richard H. Thaler. 1995. Anomalies: ultimatums, dictators and manners. Journal of Economic Perspectives 9:209–219.Google Scholar
  8. Cason, TimothyN. & Vai-Lam Mui. 1997. A laboratorystudyof group polarization in the team dictator game. Economic Journal 107(444):1465–1483.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. 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.Google Scholar
  10. 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.Google Scholar
  11. Daly, Martin & Wilson, Margo. 1985. Child abuse and other risks of not living with both parents. Ethology & Sociobiology6(4):197–210.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Eagly, Alice. 1987. Sex differences in social behavior: a social role theory interpretation. Hillsdale, NJ: Earlbaum.Google Scholar
  13. 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.Google Scholar
  14. 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.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Feingold, Alan. 1992. Gender differences in mate selection preferences: a test of the parental investment model. Psychological Bulletin 112:125–139.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. 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.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. GuÈth, Werner, Rolf Schmittberger & Bernd Schwartze. 1982. An experimental analysis of ultimatum bargaining. Journal of Economic Behavior and Organization 3:367–388.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Hamilton, William D. 1964. The genetical evolution of social behavior. Journal of Theoretical Biology7:1–52.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Hoffman, Elizabeth, Kevin McCabe & Vernon Smith. 1996. Social distance and other-regarding behavior in dictator games. American Economic Review 86(3):653–660.Google Scholar
  20. 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.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Kahneman, Daniel, Jack L. Knetsch & Richard H. Thaler. 1986. Fairness and the assumptions of economics. Journal of Business 59:285–300.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Kohler, Maxie P. 1996. Risk-taking behavior: a cognitive approach. Psychological Reports 78:489–490.Google Scholar
  23. Larose, Helene, Joanne Tracy & Stuart J. McKelvie. 1993. Effect of gender on physical attractiveness stereotype. Journal of Psychology 127:677–680.Google Scholar
  24. 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.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. 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.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Murnighan, J. Keith & Michael S. Saxon. 1998. Ultimatum bargaining bychildren and adults. Journal of Economic Psychology 19(4):415–445.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. 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.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Powell, Melanie & David Ansic. 1997. Gender differences in risk behavior in financial decision-making: an experimental analysis. Journal of Economic Psychology 18:605–628.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. 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.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Ridley, Matt. 1996. The origins of virtue: human instincts and the evolution of cooperation. Penguin Books, London, UK.Google Scholar
  31. Robert, Christopher & Peter J. Carnevale. 1997. Group choice in ultimatum bargaining. Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes 72:256–279.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Rosenthal, Robert. 1966. Experimenter effects in behavioral research. Appleton-Century-Crofts, New York.Google Scholar
  33. 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.Google Scholar
  34. Saad, Gad & Tripat Gill. 2001. The effects of a recipient's gender in a modified dictator game. Applied Economics Letters. 8(7):463–466.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. 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.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. 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.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Thaler, Richard H. 1988. Anomalies: the ultimatum game. Journal of Economic Perspectives 2:195–206.Google Scholar
  38. 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.Google Scholar
  39. 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.Google Scholar
  40. 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.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. Zajonc, Robert B. 1965. Social facilitation. Science 149:269–274.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 2001

Authors and Affiliations

  • Gad Saad
    • 1
  • Tripat Gill
    • 2
  1. 1.John Molson School of BusinessConcordia University, Marketing DepartmentMontrealCanada
  2. 2.Weatherhead School of ManagementCase Western Reserve UniversityClevelandUSA

Personalised recommendations