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Parameters of social preference functions: measurement and external validity

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  • Christoph Graf

    ()

  • Rudolf Vetschera

    ()

  • Yingchao Zhang

    ()

Abstract

Most of the existing literature on social preferences either tests whether certain characteristics of the social context (like intentions of others) influence individual decisions, or tries to estimate parameters of social preference functions describing such behavior at the level of the entire population. In the present paper, we are concerned with measuring parameters of social preference functions at the individual level. We draw upon concepts developed for eliciting other types of utility functions, in particular the literature on decision making under incomplete information. Our method derives parameters of social preference functions from indifference statements about the distribution of payoffs a group. We apply our method in a controlled social preference experiment to establish the external validity of estimated parameters. Our results show the expected relationships to some external factors (like educational background of subjects) and also a strong correspondence between parameter estimates and factors that, according to the subjects’ own descriptions, influenced their behavior. We also find that some concepts discussed in the literature on social preferences, in particular envy toward players receiving a larger payoff, have very diverse and complex effects at the individual level. Copyright Springer Science+Business Media New York 2013

Suggested Citation

  • Christoph Graf & Rudolf Vetschera & Yingchao Zhang, 2013. "Parameters of social preference functions: measurement and external validity," Theory and Decision, Springer, vol. 74(3), pages 357-382, March.
  • Handle: RePEc:kap:theord:v:74:y:2013:i:3:p:357-382 DOI: 10.1007/s11238-012-9312-9
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Vetschera, Rudolf, 2017. "Deriving rankings from incomplete preference information: A comparison of different approaches," European Journal of Operational Research, Elsevier, vol. 258(1), pages 244-253.
    2. Arleta Rasmußen, 2015. "Reporting behavior: a literature review of experimental studies," Central European Journal of Operations Research, Springer;Slovak Society for Operations Research;Hungarian Operational Research Society;Czech Society for Operations Research;Österr. Gesellschaft für Operations Research (ÖGOR);Slovenian Society Informatika - Section for Operational Research;Croatian Operational Research Society, vol. 23(2), pages 283-311, June.
    3. Spliet, Remy & Tervonen, Tommi, 2014. "Preference inference with general additive value models and holistic pair-wise statements," European Journal of Operational Research, Elsevier, vol. 232(3), pages 607-612.

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