Date of Completion


Document Type

Honors College Thesis



Thesis Type

Honors College

First Advisor

Sara Solnick


ultimatum game, altruism, sexuality, bargaining, rational choice


This project focuses on the ultimatum game—an experiment done by many economists to determine levels of altruism, fairness, equality, and financial responsibility individuals possess. It involves two players bargaining over a sum of money and is often used as a proxy for how people manage their income, negotiate for salaries, or think about fairness. Many identities have been tested, such as age, race, and gender, and while differences have been found based on gender, nobody has controlled the study for sexuality. The goal of this study was to determine whether sexuality has an impact on the results of the ultimatum game specifically by comparing gay and straight men. A total of 18 gay men and 30 straight men participated in this game. I analyzed the means of each group’s data points using t-tests and ran two regressions with variables collected in the demographic survey; ultimately, there was little difference in offers made or minimum acceptance thresholds based on sexuality. Therefore, it is impossible to reject the hypothesis that there is no significant difference between the way in which straight and gay males play the ultimatum game. The results suggest that gay and straight men do not act differently when given the prompts of this game, thus they may make similar financial decisions and bargaining choices.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License.