Skip to main content
    • Aa
    • Aa

Fair is Fair: social Preferences and reciprocity in international Politics


Behavioral economics has shown that people often diverge from classical assumptions about self-interested behavior: they have social preferences and are concerned about issues of fairness and reciprocity. Social psychologists show that these preferences vary across actors, with some displaying more prosocial value orientations than others. Integrating a laboratory bargaining experiment with original archival research on Anglo-French and Franco-German diplomacy during the interwar period, the authors show how fairness and reciprocity matter in social interactions. That prosocials do not exploit their bargaining leverage to the degree that proselfs do helps explain why some pairs of actors are better able to avoid bargaining failure than others. In the face of consistent egoism on the part of negotiating partners, however, prosocials engage in negative reciprocity and adopt the same behaviors as proselfs.

Linked references
Hide All

This list contains references from the content that can be linked to their source. For a full set of references and notes please see the PDF or HTML where available.

Marina F. Barnea , and Shalom H. Schwartz . 1998. “Values and Voting.” Political Psychology 19, no. 1: 1740.

Bianca Beersma , and Carsten K. W. De Dreu . 1999. “Negotiation Processes and Outcomes in Prosocially and Egoistically Motivated Groups.” International Journal of Conflict Management 10, no. 4: 385402.

William A. Boettcher III,. 1995. “Context, Methods, Numbers, and Words: Prospect Theory in International Relations.” Journal of Conflict Resolution 39, no. 3: 561–83.

John T. Cacioppo , and Richard E. Petty . 1982. “The Need for Cognition.” Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 42, no. 1: 116–31.

John T. Cacioppo , Richard E. Petty , Jeffrey A. Feinstein , and W. Blair G. Jarvis . 1996. “Dispositional Differences in Cognitive Motivation: The Life and Times of Individuals Varying in Need for Cognition.” Psychological Bulletin 119, no. 2: 197253.

Gian Vittorio Caprara , Claudio Barbaranelli , and Philip G. Zimbardo . 1999. “Personality Profiles and Political Parties.” Political Psychology 20, no. 1: 175–97.

David Carlton . 1970. MacDonald versus Henderson: The Foreign Policy of the Second Labour Government. London, UK: Macmillan.

Peter J. D. Carnevale , and Edward J. Lawler . 1986. “Time Pressure and the Development of Integrative Agreements in Bilateral Negotiations.” Journal of Conflict Resolution 30, no. 4: 636–59.

David De Cremer , and Paul A. M. Van Lange . 2001. “Why Prosocials Exhibit Greater Cooperation Than Proselfs: The Roles of Social Responsibility and Reciprocity.” European Journal of Personality 15, no. 51: s5–s18.

Carsten K. W. De Dreu , and Terry L. Boles . 1998. “Share and Share Alike or Winner Take All? the Infuence of Social Value Orientation upon Choice and Recall of Negotiation Heuristics.” Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes 76, no. 3: 253–76.

Carsten K. W. De Dreu , and Gerben A. Van Kleef . 2004. “The Infuence of Power on the Information Search, Impression Formation, and Demands in Negotiation.” Journal of Experimental Social Psychology 40, no. 3: 303–19.

Carsten K. W. De Dreu , and Paul A. M. Van Lange . 1995. “The Impact of Social Value Orientations on Negotiator Cognition and Behavior.” Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin 21, no. 11: 1178–88.

Morton Deutsch . 1960. “The Effect of Motivational Orientation upon Trust and Suspicion.” Human Relations 13, no. 2: 123–39.

James N. Druckman , and Cindy D. Kam . 2011. “Students as Experimental Participants: A Defense of the ‘Narrow Data Base.’” in James N. Druckman , Donald P. Green , James H. Kuklinski , and Arthur Lupia , eds., Cambridge Handbook of Experimental Political Science. new York, N.Y.: Cambridge University Press.

Armin Falk , Stephan Meier, and Christian Zehnder. 2013. “Do Lab Experiments Misrepresent Social Preferences? The Case of Self-Selected Student Samples.” Journal of the European Economic Association 11, no. 4: 839–52.

Ernst Fehr , and Urs Fischbacher . 2002. “Why Social Preferences Matter: The Impact of Non-selfish Motives on Competition, Cooperation and Incentives.” Economic Journal 112, no. 478: C1C33.

Ellen Giebels , Carsten K. W. De Dreu , and Evert Van de Vliert . 2000. “Interdependence in Negotiation: Effects of Exit Options and Social Motive on Distributive and Integrative Negotiation.” European Journal of Social Psychology 30, no. 2: 255–72.

Jesse Graham , Jonathan Haidt , and Brian A. Nosek . 2009. “Liberals and Conservatives Rely on Different Sets of Moral Foundations.” Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 96, no. 5: 1029–46.

Werner Güth , Rolf Schmittberger , and Bernd Schwarze . 1982. “An Experimental Analysis of Ultimatum Bargaining.” Journal of Economic Behavior and Organization 3, no. 4: 367–88.

Hines Hall . 1978. “Lloyd George, Briand and the Failure of the Anglo-French Entente.” Journal of Modern History 50, no. 2 (on Demand Supplement): D1121D1138.

Richard Herrmann . 1988. “The Empirical Challenge of the Cognitive Revolution: a Strategy for Drawing Inferences about Perceptions.” International Studies Quarterly 32, no. 2: 175203.

Ronnie Janoff-Bulman , Sana Sheikh , and Kate G. Baldacci . 2007. “Mapping Moral Motives: Approach, Avoidance and Political Orientation.” Journal of Experimental Social Psychology 44, no. 4: 1091–99.

Kiridaran Kanagaretnam , Stuart Mestelman , Khalid Nainar , and Mohamed Shehata . 2009. “The Impact of Social Value Orientation and Risk Attitudes on trust and Reciprocity.” Journal of Economic Psychology 30, no. 3: 368–80.

Ethan B. Kapstein 2008. “Fairness Considerations in World Politics: Lessons from International Trade Negotiations.” Political Science Quarterly 123, no. 2: 229–45.

Harold H. Kelley , and Anthony J. Stahelski . 1970. “Social Interaction Basis of Cooperators’ and Competitors’ Beliefs about Others.” Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 16, no. 1: 6691.

Joshua D. Kertzer , and Kathleen M. McGraw . 2012. “Folk Realism: Testing the Microfoundations of Realism in Ordinary Citizens.” International Studies Quarterly 56, no. 2: 245–58.

Joshua D. Kertzer , Kathleen Powers , Brian C. Rathbun , and Ravi Iyer . 2014. “Moral Support: How Moral Values Shape Foreign Policy Preferences.” Journal of Politics 76, no. 3: 825–40.

Herbert Kitschelt , and Staf Hellemans. 1989. “The Left-right Semantics and the New Politics Cleavage.” Comparative Political Studies 23, no. 2: 210–38.

D. Michael Kuhlman , and Alfred F. Marshello . 1975. “Individual Differences in Game Motivation as Moderators of Preprogrammed Strategy Effects in Prisoner’s Dilemma.” Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 32, no. 5: 922–31.

D. Michael Kuhlman , and David L. Wimberley . 1976. “Expectations of Choice Behavior Held by Cooperators, Competitors, and Individualists Across Four Classes of Experimental Games.” Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 34, no. 1: 6981.

Jack s. Levy 1997. “Prospect Theory, Rational Choice, and International Relations.” International Studies Quarterly 41, no. 1: 87112.

Liebrand , B. G. Wim , Ronald W. t. L. Jansen , Victor M. Rijken , and Cor J. M. Suhre . 1986. “Might over Morality: Social Values and the Perception of other Players in Experimental Games.” Journal of Experimental Social Psychology 22, no. 3: 203–15.

John A. List 2009. “Social Preferences: Some Thoughts From the Field.” Annual Review of Economics 1, no. 1: 563–79.

Sally Marks . 1982. “Ménage à Trois: The Negotiations for an Anglo-French-Belgian Alliance in 1922.” International History Review 4, no. 4: 524–52.

Charles G. McClintock 1972. “Social Motivation: A Set of Propositions.” Behavioral Science 17, no. 5: 438–54.

Charles G. McClintock , and Wim B. Liebrand . 1988. “Role of Interdependence Structure, Individual Value Orientation, and Another’s Strategy in Social Decision Making: A Transformational Analysis.” Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 55, no. 3: 396409.

Mara Olekalns , Philip L. Smith, and Rachael Kibby. 1996. “Social Value Orientations and Negotiator Outcomes.” European Journal of Social Psychology 26, no. 2: 299313.

Yuval Piurko , Shalom H. Schwartz , and Eldad Davidov . 2011. “Basic Personal Values and the Meaning of Left-Right Political orientations in 20 Countries.” Political Psychology 32, no. 4: 537–61.

Matthew Rabin . 2002. “A Perspective on Psychology and Economics.” European Economic Review 46, no. 4: 657–85.

Brian C. Rathbun Hierarchy and Community at Home and Abroad: Evidence of a Common Structure of Domestic and Foreign Policy Beliefs in American Elites.” Journal of Conflict Resolution 51, no. 3: 379407.

Julian B. Rotter 1980. “Interpersonal Trust, Trustworthiness, and Gullibility.” American Psychologist 35, no. 1: 17.

Vidar Schei , And Jørn K. Rognes . 2003. “Knowing Me, Knowing You: Own Orientation and Information about the Opponent’s Orientation in Negotiation.” International Journal of Conflict Management 14, no. 1: 4359.

Kenneth A. Schultz 2005. “The Politics of Risking Peace: Do Hawks or Doves Deliver the Olive Branch?International Organization 59, no. 1: 138.

Shalom H. Schwartz 1992. “Universals in the Content and Structure of Values: Theoretical Advances and Empirical Tests of 20 Countries.” Advances in Experimental Social Psychology 25: 163.

Shalom H. Schwartz , Gian Vittorio Caprara , and Michele Vecchione . 2010. “Basic Personal Values, Core Political Values, and Voting: A Longitudinal Analysis.” Political Psychology 31, no. 3: 421–52.

Dustin H. Tingley 2011. “The Dark side of the Future: An Experimental Test of Commitment Problems in Bargaining.” International Studies Quarterly 55, no. 2: 521–44.

Eric Van Dijk , David De Cremer , and Michel J. J. Handgraaf . 2004. “Social Value Orientations and the Strategic Use of Fairness in Ultimatum Bargaining.” Journal of Experimental Social Psychology 40, no. 6: 697707.

Paul A. M. Van Lange 1999. “The Pursuit of Joint outcomes and Equality in outcomes: An Integrative Model of Social Value Orientation.” Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 77, no. 2: 337–49.

Paul A. M. Van Lange , and D. Michael Kuhlman . 1994. “Social Value Orientations and Impressions of Partner’s Honesty and Intelligence: A Test of the Might versus Morality Effect.” Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 67, no. 1: 126–41.

Laurie R. Weingart , Jeanne M. Brett , Mara olekalns , and Philip L. Smith . 2007. “Conficting Social Motives in Negotiating Groups.” Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 93, no. 6: 9941010.

Recommend this journal

Email your librarian or administrator to recommend adding this journal to your organisation's collection.

World Politics
  • ISSN: 0043-8871
  • EISSN: 1086-3338
  • URL: /core/journals/world-politics
Please enter your name
Please enter a valid email address
Who would you like to send this to? *
Type Description Title
Supplementary Materials

Kertzer and Rathbun supplementary material
Kertzer and Rathbun supplementary material 1

 PDF (494 KB)
494 KB


Altmetric attention score

Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 0
Total number of PDF views: 108 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 331 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between September 2016 - 24th March 2017. This data will be updated every 24 hours.