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Thread: Idle question.

  1. #1
    Senior Member Kephalos's Avatar
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    Question Idle question.

    Anne and Bob are brother and sister, and upon their uncle's death they receive $100 to split among themselves. Anne must decide how much of that $100 she wants and propose Bob to take the rest. Bob can either accept or reject Anne's proposal: if the accepts then the split is made, and if he rejects it they both receive nothing. If you were Anne what would you choose?

    Someone asked me this question today and I didn't know what to make of it. There are many possibilities that would be acceptable to both. He told me that people usually take more than $50, which is a plausible outcome, but not the only one. Anne could certainly take $99.99 and the Schadenfreude, leave Bob a penny, and Bob would take it. Could Anne take the whole $100? If Anne takes the $100 then Bob gets nothing either way. I'm still mulling over that one. Anyway, what would you do if you were Anne?

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    Order Now! pure_mercury's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kephalos View Post
    Anne and Bob are brother and sister, and upon their uncle's death they receive $100 to split among themselves. Anne must decide how much of that $100 she wants and propose Bob to take the rest. Bob can either accept or reject Anne's proposal: if the accepts then the split is made, and if he rejects it they both receive nothing. If you were Anne what would you choose?

    Someone asked me this question today and I didn't know what to make of it. There are many possibilities that would be acceptable to both. He told me that people usually take more than $50, which is a plausible outcome, but not the only one. Anne could certainly take $99.99 and the Schadenfreude, leave Bob a penny, and Bob would take it. Could Anne take the whole $100? If Anne takes the $100 then Bob gets nothing either way. I'm still mulling over that one. Anyway, what would you do if you were Anne?

    You should accept whatever is offered, obviously, but humans have this instinct to make sure a split is "fair," even when accepting significantly less would actually benefit themselves. It's irrational, but it probably evolved from the ancient tribal days when resources were scarce and overt inequality would cause an intramural fissure.
    Who wants to try a bottle of merc's "Extroversion Olive Oil?"

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    Rats off to ya! Mort Belfry's Avatar
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    If it was a sibling I'd probably take fifty, but it were with a stranger probably more.

    That said if my brother offered me anything below forty, I'd decline. Fuck him.


    And thank god you put in that quote, pure mercury, otherwise I wouldn't know to whose post you were replying.
    Why do we always come here?

    I guess we'll never know.

    It's like a kind of torture,
    To have to watch this show.

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    Senior Member matmos's Avatar
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    Last edited by matmos; 04-05-2009 at 05:03 AM.

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    Boring old fossil Night's Avatar
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    Moved from Fluff Zone

    (Thanks, bananatrombones)

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    Senior Member matmos's Avatar
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    Thanks, Night.

    The problem with the question is that Anne & Bob are brother sister; ergo in any transaction between the two money would be secondary.

    Fairness would be the issue. Only when the two agents are anon would meaningful results be produced. Evidently it is a cultural issue as to how low an offer can be before refusal. Any refusal between such agents is perplexing, because there is no tangible advantage to refusing even an offer of one cent. The dynamic becomes "punishing" the other agent - equally perplexing if he/she is anon.

    Asside: apparently Israelis will go very low before refusal; sorry but I can't name the source.

    I propose we kill off Bob & Anne and replace them with Carol & Sue. Two total strangers.



    Personally, I'd settle for $20. Don't ask me why because I don't know.

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    Senior Member INTJMom's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kephalos View Post
    Anne and Bob are brother and sister, and upon their uncle's death they receive $100 to split among themselves. Anne must decide how much of that $100 she wants and propose Bob to take the rest. Bob can either accept or reject Anne's proposal: if the accepts then the split is made, and if he rejects it they both receive nothing. If you were Anne what would you choose?

    Someone asked me this question today and I didn't know what to make of it. There are many possibilities that would be acceptable to both. He told me that people usually take more than $50, which is a plausible outcome, but not the only one. Anne could certainly take $99.99 and the Schadenfreude, leave Bob a penny, and Bob would take it. Could Anne take the whole $100? If Anne takes the $100 then Bob gets nothing either way. I'm still mulling over that one. Anyway, what would you do if you were Anne?
    It would never occur to me to split it any other way but 50-50.

  8. #8
    no clinkz 'til brooklyn Nocapszy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bananatrombones View Post
    Any refusal between such agents is perplexing, because there is no tangible advantage to refusing even an offer of one cent.
    Sure there is.
    Counter Attack - Wikipedia.
    It's more satisfying to screw the guy screwing you than to take the penny.

    Easier on the ego to put them at your mercy than to be at theirs.
    we fukin won boys

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    Senior Member The Outsider's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by INTJMom View Post
    It would never occur to me to split it any other way but 50-50.
    I agree.

  10. #10
    Senior Member matmos's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nocap View Post
    Sure there is.
    Counter Attack - Wikipedia.
    It's more satisfying to screw the guy screwing you than to take the penny.

    Easier on the ego to put them at your mercy than to be at theirs.
    This seems to be at the core of refused offers: the other guy is interpreted as screwing the agent; in fact he's not he's playing a game - the essence of which is to maximise the payoff.

    The possibility of a counter-offensive is negated by the valueless payoffs on offer to both players for non-cooperation.

    The beauty of the game is exactly as you have described nocaps, people get butthurt and are likely to make irrational decisions. An the weak agent can use that to his considerable advantage.

    So. Bananatromebones has just told you he will accept an offer of $20. Now you Know - and you'd be stupid to offer me any more. You might even try knocking off another $5 - worth a shot for a 85% payoff. What I should have said is, a la Nocaps - "I'm a crazy fucker, if you don't give me $50, not a cent less, on my old mother's grave, you will get nothing".

    Or when your crazy ex-wife says she wants $60 or $70 (fairness sucks) or she'll screw it up for you. You know she's not bluffing because she's done it already IRL - only the lawyers got the money and you both ended up worse.

    Ego can get you into all sorts of trouble.

    Nocaps is correct, of course. But for a tactic to be successful, the threat of a counteroffensive need not be rational. Only plausible.

    All the best.

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