We examined which type of social account (denying responsibility versus apologizing) following an unfair offer makes recipients more likely to accept the offer in ultimatum bargaining. We identified stress responses to uncertainty as an individual difference factor that should moderate the relative effectiveness of these social accounts. A denial should make acceptance of an unfair offer more likely among recipients who respond to uncertainty with low stress. An apology should make such acceptance more likely among recipients who respond with high stress. Further, we argued that this cross-over interaction should be observed particularly among recipients interacting with a high power allocator. Two ultimatum bargaining experiments supported these ideas. Employing the perspective of victims of unfairness, the present research identifies a relevant individual difference moderator of the effectiveness of social accounts in bargaining situations and identifies power as a situational variable that promotes the expression of this factor. Highlights: ► We examine when denying responsibility and apologizing make unfair ultimatum offers accepted. ► We tested our ideas in two ultimatum bargaining experiments. ► Denying promoted acceptance when recipients responded to uncertainty with low stress. Apologizing promoted acceptance when recipients responded with high stress. ► This interaction was limited to recipients interacting with a high power allocator. ► The perspective of victims of unfairness helps us understand how social accounts work

Additional Metadata
Keywords bargaining, power, social accounts, stress, ultimatum bargaining, uncertainty
JEL Behavioral Economics; Underlying Principles (jel D03)
Persistent URL dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.joep.2011.03.014, hdl.handle.net/1765/23445
Series ERIM Article Series (EAS)
Journal Journal of Economic Psychology
Citation
van Dijke, M.H, & de Cremer, D. (2011). When social accounts promote acceptance of unfair ultimatum offers: The role of the victim’s stress responses to uncertainty and power position. Journal of Economic Psychology, 32(3), 468–479. doi:10.1016/j.joep.2011.03.014