Outcomes versus intentions: On the nature of fair behavior and its development with age

  • Sutter M
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Economic decisions depend on both actual outcomes as well as perceived intentions. In this paper, we examine whether and how the relative importance of outcomes or intentions for economic decisions develops with age. We report the results of ultimatum games with children, teens and university students. We find that children and teens react systematically to perceived intentions, like university students do. However, children and teens reject unequal offers much more often than university students, indicating that outcomes are relatively more important than intentions for younger subjects. Hence, the relative importance of intentions increases with age. © 2006 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

Author-supplied keywords

  • Age
  • Children
  • Fairness
  • Intentions
  • Ultimatum game

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  • Matthias Sutter

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