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Efficiency, equality and reciprocity in social preferences: A comparison of students and a representative population

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Author Info

  • Cappelen, Alexander W.

    ()
    (Dept. of Economics, Norwegian School of Economics and Business Administration)

  • Nygaard, Knut

    ()
    (Dept. of Economics, Norwegian School of Economics and Business Administration)

  • Sørensen, Erik Ø.

    ()
    (Dept. of Economics, Norwegian School of Economics and Business Administration)

  • Tungodden, Bertil

    ()
    (Dept. of Economics, Norwegian School of Economics and Business Administration)

Abstract

The debate between Engelmann and Strobel (2004, 2006) and Fehr, Naef, and Schmidt (2006) highlights the important question of the extent to which lab experiments on student populations can serve to identify the motivational forces present in society at large. We address this question by comparing the lab behavior of a student group and a non-student group, where the non-student group on all observable factors is almost identical to the representative adult population in Norway. All participants take part in exactly the same lab experiment. Our study shows that students may not be informative of the role of social preferences in the broader population. We nd that the representative participants differ fundamentally from students both in their level of selfishness and in the relative importance assigned to different moral motives. It is also interesting to note that while we do not find any substantial gender differences among the students, males and females in the representative group differ fundamentally in their moral motivation.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Department of Economics, Norwegian School of Economics in its series Discussion Paper Series in Economics with number 28/2010.

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Length: 17 pages
Date of creation: 15 Nov 2010
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:hhs:nhheco:2010_028

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Keywords: Representative sample; Social preferences; Laboratory experiment.;

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References

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  1. Alexander W. Cappelen & Astri Drange Hole & Erik Ø Sørensen & Bertil Tungodden, 2007. "The Pluralism of Fairness Ideals: An Experimental Approach," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 97(3), pages 818-827, June.
  2. Ernst Fehr & Urs Fischbacher & Bernhard von Rosenbladt & Jürgen Schupp & Gert G. Wagner, . "A Nation-Wide Laboratory: Examining trust and trustworthiness by integrating behavioral experiments into representative surveys," IEW - Working Papers 141, Institute for Empirical Research in Economics - University of Zurich.
  3. William T. Harbaugh & Kate Krause & Timothy R. Berry, 2001. "GARP for Kids: On the Development of Rational Choice Behavior," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 91(5), pages 1539-1545, December.
  4. Charles Bellemare & Sabine Kröger & Arthur van Soest, 2008. "Measuring Inequity Aversion in a Heterogeneous Population Using Experimental Decisions and Subjective Probabilities," Econometrica, Econometric Society, Econometric Society, vol. 76(4), pages 815-839, 07.
  5. Matthias Sutter & Martin Kocher, 2007. "Trust and trustworthiness across different age groups," Artefactual Field Experiments 00110, The Field Experiments Website.
  6. Nava Ashraf & Iris Bohnet & Nikita Piankov, 2006. "Decomposing trust and trustworthiness," Experimental Economics, Springer, Springer, vol. 9(3), pages 193-208, September.
  7. Dirk Engelmann & Martin Strobel, 2006. "Inequality Aversion, Efficiency, and Maximin Preferences in Simple Distribution Experiments: Reply," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 96(5), pages 1918-1923, December.
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Cited by:
  1. Jacobsen, Karin & H. Eika, Kari & Helland, Leif & Thori Lind, Jo & Nyborg, Karine, 2011. "Are nurses more altruistic than real estate brokers?," Memorandum, Oslo University, Department of Economics 09/2011, Oslo University, Department of Economics.
  2. Pelligra, Vittorio & Stanca, Luca, 2013. "To give or not to give? Equity, efficiency and altruistic behavior in an artefactual field experiment," Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics (formerly The Journal of Socio-Economics), Elsevier, vol. 46(C), pages 1-9.

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