[ExI] we aren't the world
spike at rainier66.com
Wed Feb 27 04:27:40 UTC 2013
This is a long article, but the interesting part of it is stated in the
first four or five paragraphs:
The game goes like this: a test subject is given 100 bucks. She must offer
some of it to a second player, any amount she chooses. If the second player
accepts, they second player gets the amount offered and the first gets
whatever is left. If the second player refuses, then both players get
What a cool game!
The article tells of Americans and their typical way of playing, the way I
would play under those circumstances: offer the second player 50 bucks.
Good chance she would take it and we both get 50. But if I am the second
player and some greedy bastard offers me 40, I might gently explain where to
stuff her 60 bucks.
In any case, I never would have guessed it: an entire population was found
who play the game far differently. In this ultimatum game, the Peruvian
first players would typically offer way less, and the second players would
usually accept. Fascinating! I never thought about it, but it explains why
we have soooo many lawyers in the US.
Europeans among us, how would you play that game? If I offered you 40,
would you take it?
I thought of a cool experiment: we get some number of players, each kick in
100 bucks. Then each player gets to be the first player once and the second
player once. Every pair of players gets to negotiate anonymously online, so
an annoyed loser will never come to your office and whoop your ass. It
would be a zero sum game: in those cases where there was a refusal, the 100
bucks would go into a pot which would be divided evenly among the players
after everyone has played their two rounds. When you are the first player
and you draw a wimp and you play aggressively, you might get 60, then the
next round some fair-minded soul offers you 50 which you accept, so now you
are at 110 plus perhaps another 20 to 30 bucks as your share from the
hotheads who couldn't negotiate their way out of a wet paper sack.
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