The Ultimatum Game, Fairness, and Cooperation among Big Game Hunters Chapter uri icon


  • Oxford University Press, 2013. The Ultimatum Game was played with a group of traditional big game hunters: the Lamalera whalers of Nusa Tenggara, Indonesia, whose community is described in the first section of the chapter. The methods used for the study are then outlined and the results presented and discussed. The results were consistent in some ways with those from trials in western societies, with the primary difference that there were a number of cases of hyper-fairness: one interpretation offered of these cases is that the whale hunters made strategic decisions when they made fair offers, but other explanations are also examined on the basis of the results of various crosscultural studies (including those in this book). These focus on the rejection of both fair and hyper-fair offers in the Ultimatum Game (which have been interpreted as indicating an unwillingness to punish), and the issue of the variance seen in the cross-cultural sample in this book in relation to fairness, for which strategic risk reduction is one explanation, but reputation effects are another, and the best model incorporates market integration and payoff to cooperation. The final section of the chapter discusses evolutionary theory and adaptive responses in relation to human cooperative behaviour.

altmetric score

  • 3

author list (cited authors)

  • Alvard, M. S.

Book Title

  • Foundations of Human Sociality

publication date

  • January 2004