Culture or anonymity? Differences in proposer behaviour in Korea and Germany

Sven Horak
Published Online:
22 Jan 2015
Volume/Issue No:
Volume 50 Issue 5

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This study explores the proposer behaviour in an ultimatum game (UG) frame under anonymous and non‐anonymous conditions among a Korean and German subject pool (n = 590) in comparison. Whereas the anonymous condition is represented by the standard UG, the non‐anonymous condition integrates an aggregate of the Korean cultural context variables university affiliation, regional origin and seniority. The latter, a classic Confucian context variable, is measured by age differentials. The former two are impactful components of so‐called Yongo networks, a unique Korean informal institution identical to Chinese Guanxi ties. Yongo networks, yet underrepresented in research, are said to be a central context variable to explain Korean social ties and decision‐making behaviour. We observe significant differences between the offer behaviours of Korean and German subjects when exposing selected cultural variables. We argue that the behavioural differences observed are in fact due to culture not anonymity.

© 2015 International Union of Psychological Science