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Searching for Evidence of Alternative Preferences, Public as Opposed to Private

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  • Clifford S. Russell

    (Department of Economics, Vanderbilt University)

  • Thomas Bue Bjorner

    ()
    (AKF, Denmark)

  • Christopher D. Clark

    (University of South Alabama)

Abstract

Important economic thinkers such as Sen, Arrow and Harsanyi have argued for the existence of multiple preference orderings, allowing individuals to make choices, both when only private welfare is at stake and when the good of some collective is involved. Further, recent literature has shown that the presence of altruistic, as opposed to "private", preferences may have important implications for environmental regulation and the optimal provision of public goods. However, only limited empirical work has been carried out to test for the presence of such preferences. This paper presents an empirical study, done in Denmark and the US, that supports the existence of such preferences. More precisely, the study finds that in both countries expressions of two types of altruistic preferences can be triggered in a predictable, controllable way by small framing changes in a questionnaire. It is suggested that the method used may itself be useful in further studies testing for other varieties of altruism.

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File URL: http://www.accessecon.com/pubs/VUECON/vu01-w01.pdf
File Function: First version, 2001
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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Vanderbilt University Department of Economics in its series Vanderbilt University Department of Economics Working Papers with number 0101.

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Date of creation: Jan 2001
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Handle: RePEc:van:wpaper:0101

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Web page: http://www.vanderbilt.edu/econ/wparchive/index.html

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Keywords: Altruism; commited and sympathestic preferences; framing;

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  1. Thomas C. Brown & Patricia A. Champ & Richard C. Bishop & Daniel W. McCollum, 1996. "Which Response Format Reveals the Truth about Donations to a Public Good?," Land Economics, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 72(2), pages 152-166.
  2. Robert D. Weaver, 1996. "Prosocial Behavior: Private Contributions to Agriculture's Impact on the Environment," Land Economics, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 72(2), pages 231-247.
  3. repec:att:wimass:9309 is not listed on IDEAS
  4. Wilfred Beckerman & Joanna Pasek, 1997. "Plural Values and Environmental Valuation," Environmental Values, White Horse Press, vol. 6(1), pages 65-86, February.
  5. V. Prasnikar & A. Roth, 1998. "Considerations of fairness and strategy: experimental data from sequential games," Levine's Working Paper Archive 451, David K. Levine.
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  8. Forsythe Robert & Horowitz Joel L. & Savin N. E. & Sefton Martin, 1994. "Fairness in Simple Bargaining Experiments," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 6(3), pages 347-369, May.
  9. John C. Harsanyi, 1955. "Cardinal Welfare, Individualistic Ethics, and Interpersonal Comparisons of Utility," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 63, pages 309.
  10. Ajzen, Icek & Brown, Thomas C. & Rosenthal, Lori H., 1996. "Information Bias in Contingent Valuation: Effects of Personal Relevance, Quality of Information, and Motivational Orientation," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 30(1), pages 43-57, January.
  11. Gregory, Robin & Lichtenstein, Sarah & Slovic, Paul, 1993. " Valuing Environmental Resources: A Constructive Approach," Journal of Risk and Uncertainty, Springer, vol. 7(2), pages 177-97, October.
  12. Bohm, Peter, 1994. "Behaviour under Uncertainty without Preference Reversal: A Field Experiment," Empirical Economics, Springer, vol. 19(2), pages 185-200.
  13. Russell, Clifford & Dale, Virginia & Lee, Junsoo & Jensen, Molly Hadley & Kane, Michael & Gregory, Robin, 2001. "Experimenting with multi-attribute utility survey methods in a multi-dimensional valuation problem," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 36(1), pages 87-108, January.
  14. Andreoni, James, 1995. "Cooperation in Public-Goods Experiments: Kindness or Confusion?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 85(4), pages 891-904, September.
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  16. Georg Kirchsteiger & Ernst Fehr & Arno Riedl, 1993. "Does Fairness Prevent Market Clearing? An Experimental Investigation," ULB Institutional Repository 2013/5927, ULB -- Universite Libre de Bruxelles.
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Cited by:
  1. Alvarez-Farizo, Begona & Hanley, Nick & Barberan, Ramon & Lazaro, Angelina, 2007. "Choice modeling at the "market stall": Individual versus collective interest in environmental valuation," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 60(4), pages 743-751, February.
  2. Francisco Alpizar & Fredrik Carlsson & Olof Johansson-Stenman, 2008. "Does context matter more for hypothetical than for actual contributions? Evidence from a natural field experiment," Experimental Economics, Springer, vol. 11(3), pages 299-314, September.
  3. Johansson-Stenman , Olof & Svedsäter, Henrik, 2003. "Self Image And Choice Experiments: Hypothetical And Actual Willingness To Pay," Working Papers in Economics 94, University of Gothenburg, Department of Economics.
  4. Alpizar, Francisco & Carlsson, Fredrik & Johansson-Stenman, Olof, 2008. "Full title Does Context Matter More for Hypothetical Than for Actual Contributions? Evidence from a Natural Field Experiment," Discussion Papers dp-08-02-efd, Resources For the Future.
  5. Nobuyuki Ito & Kenji Takeuchi & Koichi Kuriyama & Yasushi Shoji & Takahiro Tsuge & Yohei Mitani, 2008. "The influence of decision-making rules on individual preference for ecological restoration: Evidence from an experimental survey," Discussion Papers 0820, Graduate School of Economics, Kobe University.
  6. Soderholm, Patrik & Sundqvist, Thomas, 2003. "Pricing environmental externalities in the power sector: ethical limits and implications for social choice," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 46(3), pages 333-350, October.

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