[Excerpt] As a complement to other chapters in this handbook, this chapter’s initial focus is about understanding security concerns in interdependent economic decision-making, that is, contexts wherein individuals are asked with distributing resources between two or more parties, typically themselves and another. The economics component of economic decision-making concerns the manufacturing, distribution, and exchange of resources, whether money or ornament-shaped chocolates. The decision-making component involves applying psychological principles, such as motivation, to understanding how individuals choose among alternatives. For these reasons, it is a topic that falls under the study of behavioral economics (Camerer & Loewenstein, 2004; De Cremer, Zeelenberg, & Murnighan, 2006).
It is the interdependent component of economic decision-making, however, that helps us investigate individuals' intentions to cooperate or compete, to explore self-interest and its manifestation in individuals' treatment (or lack thereof) of other parties. This intersection of topics allows us to answer the types of questions raised by examples like the one described above, such as, "Why might someone sacrifice her own absolute gains simply to avoid receiving less than someone else?" Understanding the answers to these kinds of questions about how resources are manufactured, distributed, and exchanged is a topic with great ramifications for, among other things, domestic and international politics (e.g., Lancaster, 2007; Waltz, 1979), the funding of research disciplines or functional areas within organizations, deal-making and dispute resolution, and basic survival functions, through the sharing of food, shelter, and other basic resources (e.g., Boyd & Silk, 2012; Hill, 2002).