Can an International Business Game Where Players Start From Different Trade-Policy Positions be Fair?


  • Precha Thavikulwat
  • Jimmy Chang


We examined for fairness the cumulative performance scores of 554 students and 24 ghost players in an international-business game wherein players are assigned at the start to nations with free-trade, strategic-trade, and export-promotion policies. The game was administered over four consecutive semesters; for 160 periods in the first three semesters and for 99 periods in the third semester. The different starting conditions had no statistically significant effect on the students’ cumulative performance scores, so performance fairness is completely supported. The data is equivocal with respect to the cumulative performance scores of ghost players, so motivational fairness is partially supported. We conjecture that motivational fairness requires that the game be administered for 160 periods. That export promotion did not give rise to lower performance scores than free trade is a puzzle that should be resolved by more research.