The social utility model suggests that in social decision-making, both inter- and intrapersonal comparisons are important in assessing the utility of a decision outcome. In the ultimatum game both these comparisons play a role. This is especially true for recipients reacting to an unfair offer. We propose that the relative weights inter- and intrapersonal comparisons receive in ultimatum games depend on the way the decision is structured. In three studies we show that presenting recipients with a straightforward choice instead of the usual accept/reject question makes recipients more inclined to accept unfair offers. Moreover, the existence of an alternative outcome, i.e., the fact that refusal of the offer also leads to a substantial outcome, similarly raises the level of acceptances in a standard ultimatum game. Results are discussed in relation to the joint/separate evaluation disparity and the distinction between occurrences and non-occurrences.
|Journal||Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes|
|Publication status||Published - 2003|