Scandinavian Working Papers in Economics

Working Papers,
Lund University, Department of Economics

No 2015:33: Venting and Gossiping in Conflicts: Emotion Expression in Ultimatum Games

Margaret Samahita ()
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Margaret Samahita: Department of Economics, Lund University, Postal: Department of Economics, School of Economics and Management, Lund University, Box 7082, S-220 07 Lund, Sweden

Abstract: Conflicts often lead to expression of emotion to unrelated parties. We study non-instrumental emotion expression in binary ultimatum games, where receivers can express emotion either privately or to a third-party audience prior to accepting or rejecting the offer. The possibility of emotion expression to an audience increases welfare, but this is driven by senders behaving more fairly rather than any change in receivers' behaviour. We thus show that the role of emotion expression in increasing co-operation is mainly driven by the punishment motive. There is demand for emotion expression even when it is unobserved, this is motivated by low self-esteem.

Keywords: ultimatum game; co-operation; emotion; fairness; self-esteem

JEL-codes: C72; C91; D03; D63

27 pages, November 10, 2015

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