IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/a/kap/transp/v40y2013i5p1043-1061.html
   My bibliography  Save this article

Selfishness and altruism in the distribution of travel time and income

Author

Listed:
  • Nebiyou Tilahun

    ()

  • David Levinson

    ()

Abstract

Most economic models assume that individuals act out their preferences based on self-interest alone. However, there have also been other paradigms in economics that aim to capture aspects of behavior that include fairness, reciprocity, and altruism. In this study we empirically examine preferences of travel time and income distributions with and without the respondent knowing their own position in each distribution. The data comes from a Stated Preference experiment where subjects were presented paired alternative distributions of travel time and income. The alternatives require a tradeoff between distributional concerns and the respondent’s own position. Choices also do not penalize or reward any particular choice. Overall, choices show individuals are willing forgo alternatives where they would be individually well off in the interest of distributional concerns in both the travel time and income cases. Exclusively self-interested choices are seen more in the income questions, where nearly 25 % of respondents express such preferences, than in the travel time case, where only 5 % of respondents make such choices. The results also suggest that respondents prioritize their own position differently relative to regional distributions of travel time and income. Estimated choice models show that when it comes to travel time, individuals are more concerned with societal average travel time followed by the standard deviation in the region and finally their own travel time, while in the case of income they are more concerned with their own income, followed by a desire for more variability, and finally increasing the minimum income in their region. When individuals do not know their fate after a policy change that affects regional travel time, their choices appear to be mainly motivated by risk averse behavior and aim to reduce variability in outcomes. On the other hand, in the income context, the expected value appears to drive choices. In all cases, population-wide tastes are also estimated and reported. Copyright Springer Science+Business Media New York 2013

Suggested Citation

  • Nebiyou Tilahun & David Levinson, 2013. "Selfishness and altruism in the distribution of travel time and income," Transportation, Springer, vol. 40(5), pages 1043-1061, September.
  • Handle: RePEc:kap:transp:v:40:y:2013:i:5:p:1043-1061 DOI: 10.1007/s11116-013-9456-7
    as

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10.1007/s11116-013-9456-7
    Download Restriction: Access to full text is restricted to subscribers.

    As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to look for a different version below or search for a different version of it.

    Other versions of this item:

    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Dirk Engelmann & Martin Strobel, 2004. "Inequality Aversion, Efficiency, and Maximin Preferences in Simple Distribution Experiments," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 94(4), pages 857-869, September.
    2. Kahneman, Daniel & Knetsch, Jack L & Thaler, Richard H, 1986. "Fairness and the Assumptions of Economics," The Journal of Business, University of Chicago Press, vol. 59(4), pages 285-300, October.
    3. Fredrik Carlsson & Dinky Daruvala & Olof Johansson-Stenman, 2005. "Are People Inequality-Averse, or Just Risk-Averse?," Economica, London School of Economics and Political Science, vol. 72(3), pages 375-396, August.
    4. Marchetti, Antonella & Castelli, Ilaria & Harlé, Katia M. & Sanfey, Alan G., 2011. "Expectations and outcome: The role of Proposer features in the Ultimatum Game," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 32(3), pages 446-449, June.
    5. DeSerpa, A C, 1971. "A Theory of the Economics of Time," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 81(324), pages 828-846, December.
    6. Louviere,Jordan J. & Hensher,David A. & Swait,Joffre D., 2000. "Stated Choice Methods," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9780521788304, December.
    7. Andrew Daly & Stephane Hess & Kenneth Train, 2012. "Assuring finite moments for willingness to pay in random coefficient models," Transportation, Springer, pages 19-31.
    8. Lei Zhang & David Levinson, 2005. "Balancing Efficiency and Equity of Ramp Meters," Working Papers 200508, University of Minnesota: Nexus Research Group.
    9. Nebiyou Tilahun & David Levinson, 2006. "A Moment of Time: Reliability in Route Choice using Stated Preference," Working Papers 201004, University of Minnesota: Nexus Research Group.
    10. David Levinson & Ajay Kumar, 1994. "The Rational Locator: Why Travel Times Have Remained Stable," Working Papers 199402, University of Minnesota: Nexus Research Group.
    11. Axel Ockenfels & Gary E. Bolton, 2000. "ERC: A Theory of Equity, Reciprocity, and Competition," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 90(1), pages 166-193, March.
    12. Evans, Alan W, 1972. "On the Theory of the Valuation and Allocation of Time," Scottish Journal of Political Economy, Scottish Economic Society, vol. 19(1), pages 1-17, February.
    13. Rabin, Matthew, 1993. "Incorporating Fairness into Game Theory and Economics," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, pages 1281-1302.
    14. Guth, Werner & Schmittberger, Rolf & Schwarze, Bernd, 1982. "An experimental analysis of ultimatum bargaining," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 3(4), pages 367-388, December.
    15. Elster, Jon, 2006. "Altruistic Behavior and Altruistic Motivations," Handbook on the Economics of Giving, Reciprocity and Altruism, Elsevier.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Selfishness; Altruism; Travel time distribution; Income distribution; Preferences; Inequality; Choice experiment;

    JEL classification:

    • R41 - Urban, Rural, Regional, Real Estate, and Transportation Economics - - Transportation Economics - - - Transportation: Demand, Supply, and Congestion; Travel Time; Safety and Accidents; Transportation Noise
    • R42 - Urban, Rural, Regional, Real Estate, and Transportation Economics - - Transportation Economics - - - Government and Private Investment Analysis; Road Maintenance; Transportation Planning
    • R48 - Urban, Rural, Regional, Real Estate, and Transportation Economics - - Transportation Economics - - - Government Pricing and Policy
    • D31 - Microeconomics - - Distribution - - - Personal Income and Wealth Distribution
    • D10 - Microeconomics - - Household Behavior - - - General
    • D81 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Criteria for Decision-Making under Risk and Uncertainty
    • A13 - General Economics and Teaching - - General Economics - - - Relation of Economics to Social Values
    • C91 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments - - - Laboratory, Individual Behavior

    Statistics

    Access and download statistics

    Corrections

    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:kap:transp:v:40:y:2013:i:5:p:1043-1061. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Sonal Shukla) or (Rebekah McClure). General contact details of provider: http://www.springer.com .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.