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The endogenous nature of the measurement of social preferences

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  • Smith, John

Abstract

Measures of preferences are primarily useful in that they are helpful in predicting behavior. We perform an experiment which demonstrates that the timing of the measurement of social preferences can affect such a measure. Researchers often measure social preferences by posing a series of dictator game allocation decisions; we use a particular technique, Social Value Orientation (SVO). We vary the order of the SVO measurement and a lager stakes dictator game. In our first study, we find that subjects with prosocial preferences act even more prosocially when the SVO measurement is administered first, whereas those with selfish preferences are unaffected by the order. In our second study we vary the order of the SVO measurement and a nonstandard dictator game. We do not find the effect found in the first study. This suggests that the effect found in the first study is driven by choices involving the size of surplus.

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Paper provided by University Library of Munich, Germany in its series MPRA Paper with number 23282.

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Date of creation: 13 Jun 2010
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Handle: RePEc:pra:mprapa:23282

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Keywords: experimental economics; social values; dictator game; social value orientation;

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Cited by:
  1. Chen, Chia-Ching & Chiu, I-Ming & Smith, John & Yamada, Tetsuji, 2011. "Too smart to be selfish? Measures of intelligence, social preferences, and consistency," MPRA Paper, University Library of Munich, Germany 34438, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  2. Chen, Chia-Ching & Chiu, I-Ming & Smith, John & Yamada, Tetsuji, 2013. "Too smart to be selfish? Measures of cognitive ability, social preferences, and consistency," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, Elsevier, vol. 90(C), pages 112-122.

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