Document Type


Publication Date



One robust result in experimental economics is the failure to observe equilibrium play in the ultimatum game. A heretofore unnoticed feature of the game is that neither player voluntarily chooses to play the game. Motivated by Adam Smith’s proposition that beneficence—like that of non‐ equilibrium play in the ultimatum game—cannot be extorted by force, we offer the responder the opportunity to opt out of the game for a mere $1 payoff for both players. We observe high rates of equilibrium play with highly unequal splits when responders choose to play such ultimatum games with both fixed and variable sums.


Working Paper 17-17



To view the content in your browser, please download Adobe Reader or, alternately,
you may Download the file to your hard drive.

NOTE: The latest versions of Adobe Reader do not support viewing PDF files within Firefox on Mac OS and if you are using a modern (Intel) Mac, there is no official plugin for viewing PDF files within the browser window.