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Reference Point Effects in Antisocial Preferences


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  • Klaus Abbink
  • David Masclet


  • Matthijs van Veelen


We study antisocial preferences in simple money-burning tasks. A decision maker can choose whether or not to reduce another person’s payoff at an own cost. We vary across tasks the initial endowment of the decider and the victim. We find that most conventional expectations are refuted: Subjects burn more when inequality is advantageous than when it is disadvantageous. Equitable distributions are particularly prone to destruction. These effects are reversed, however, when the equivalent tasks are framed as creation instead of destruction. Nous étudions les préférences antisociales à l’aide d’un jeu simple de “money burning”. Dans ce jeu, un agent doit choisir s’il souhaite ou pas réduire, moyennant un cout, le gain d’un autre agent. Nous avons fait varier les gains des deux agents. Nos résultats indiquent que les agents n’hésitent pas à « bruler » l’argent des autres, y compris lorsque les écarts de gains sont à l’avantage du décideur, ce qui réfute clairement l’hypothèse d’aversion à l’inégalité. Les cas où les gains du décideur et de la victime sont identiques sont particulièrement sujets à destruction. Nous observons également que les décisions de destructions sont particulièrement sensibles aux effets de framing.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by CIRANO in its series CIRANO Working Papers with number 2011s-11.

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Date of creation: 01 Jan 2011
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Handle: RePEc:cir:cirwor:2011s-11

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Keywords: experiment; money burning; framing effects; preferences anti-sociales; expérience; jeu de « money burning »; effets de framing; préférences anti-sociales;

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Cited by:
  1. Esther Kessler & Maria Ruiz-Martos & David Skuse, 2012. "Destructor Game," Working Papers 2012/11, Economics Department, Universitat Jaume I, Castellón (Spain).
  2. Chen, Jingnan & Houser, Daniel & Montinari, Natalia & Piovesan, Marco, 2014. "Beware of Popular Kids Bearing Gifts: A Framed Field Experiment," Working Papers 2014:18, Lund University, Department of Economics.
  3. Klaus Abbink & David Masclet & Daniel Mirza, 2012. "Inequality and Inter-group Conflicts – Experimental Evidence," Economics Working Paper from Condorcet Center for political Economy at CREM-CNRS 2012-07-ccr, Condorcet Center for political Economy.


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