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The Effect of Stake Size in Experimental Bargaining and Distribution Games: A Survey

Urhan, Umit Baris
We review the literature on bargaining and distribution experiments to investigate whether changes in stake size have significant effects on behaviour in laboratory/field settings. We conclude that experiments in this field do not lead to clear/common results. The joint presence of opposing factors (e.g., increasing relative risk aversion and increasing cost of fairness) might be one reason contributing to this. Moreover, we argue that variables such as subjects' financial conditions, cognitive abilities, risk attitudes, loss-aversion, justice orientations, and relevant personality characteristics should be controlled in laboratory experiments to understand the effect of stake size on behaviour, more clearly. Finally, quasi-experiments using data from (very) high-stake games/events and meta-analysis studies should complement (individual) controlled experiments.