Free-for-all Friday

Let’s try an experiment. I’m going to give $100 to you, a loyal reader of this blog. But there’s a catch. (Isn’t there always?) You have to share it with another blog reader. He or she will decide how to split the money. If you accept the deal, you both get to keep the money. If you refuse, neither of you gets to keep the money.

Do you accept 50/50? Or do you insist on the larger share? (I am giving the money to you, after all.) Will you take 80/20? 99/1?

I’ve been reading Richard Thaler’s Misbehaving: The Making of Behavioral Economics — a very interesting read, despite the title. This thought experiment has a lot to say about human nature. (Writers: think characterization!)

What do you decide? Let us know in comments.





  1. I would accept the 50/50 offer…but I suspect that a certain political candidate in the Republican Party would demand all of the money. Can you guess who I am referring to?? 🙂 Have a great weekend.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That’s what I would have said, too!
      One eye-opening point in Misbehaving was that humans place a very high importance on fairness and reciprocity. So much so that we (as a group) often overlook straightforward solutions in the interest of fairness. That got me thinking. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Share and share alike!
      But you’re messin’ up the economic models. 😉 It seems they don’t really take into account generosity of spirit. We’re “supposed” to be optimizing at all costs.


  2. It would be interesting to see a sampling of how many split the money in what way AND what was the reaction of the Splitee to the splitter. Perception perception….

    i would not take the money either way. Pass it along to someone in genuine need 👍🏻😀

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It is all about perception!

      The author of the book was teaching a microeconomics class and gave two quizzes. One scored out of a total possible100 points and the other scored out of a possible 137 points.

      The students received an average grade of 72 on the first quiz and an average grade of 96 on the second quiz.

      The average score on both quizzes were about the same, but the students were MUCH happier about the results of the second quiz. He said that the students were thrilled about the results on the second quiz. No complaints. 🙂


    1. Me too! Most of us place a high value on fairness and reciprocity. That’s the foundation of behavioral economics, according to the author. Traditional economics says that people should accept any split — even $99/$1.


  3. I would take any split. But I must admit… in a self-centered way, I would choose someone who I believed shared my values and therefore would split or spend the money in a way that would be similar to how I would share or spend the money. So fellow blog readers: Anyone up for Thai food and a donation to a literacy foundation?

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Duuuuuuude I missed this one last Friday, but in fairness I’ve been missing a couple though … Daylight Savings and life kicking my ass. But I’m back on the wagon and I’d take 50 for sure, I’d take anything really. Chocolate even 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

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