IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/p/ags/cudawp/51141.html
   My bibliography  Save this paper

The Value of Private Risk Versus the Value of Public Risk: An Experimental Analysis of the Johannesson et al. Conjecture

Author

Listed:
  • Messer, Kent D.
  • Poe, Gregory L.
  • Schulze, William D.

Abstract

In 1996 Johannesson et al. published a paper in this journal entitled “The Value of Private Safety versus the Value of Public Safety.” Based on preliminary evidence from a hypothetical contingent valuation study, these authors argue that consumers behave as “pure altruists” and reject the notion of paternalistic preferences for safety in a coercive tax setting. These pure altruists consider the cost of a program that might be imposed on other voters when they decide whether to vote for or against public safety programs. The authors conclude that further empirical research in this area is warranted. This paper presents a set of laboratory economics experiments to test Johannesson et al.’s conjecture under controlled conditions in which participants face an actual risk of financial loss. The laboratory results extend those of Johannesson et al., providing strong evidence of pure altruism but limited support for paternalistic altruism for risk.

Suggested Citation

  • Messer, Kent D. & Poe, Gregory L. & Schulze, William D., 2008. "The Value of Private Risk Versus the Value of Public Risk: An Experimental Analysis of the Johannesson et al. Conjecture," Working Papers 51141, Cornell University, Department of Applied Economics and Management.
  • Handle: RePEc:ags:cudawp:51141
    as

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL: http://purl.umn.edu/51141
    Download Restriction: no

    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Gary Charness & Matthew Rabin, 2002. "Understanding Social Preferences with Simple Tests," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 117(3), pages 817-869.
    2. Irwin, Julie R, et al, 1998. "Payoff Dominance vs. Cognitive Transparency in Decision Making," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 36(2), pages 272-285, April.
    3. John Quiggin, 1998. "Individual and Household Willingness to Pay for Public Goods," American Journal of Agricultural Economics, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association, vol. 80(1), pages 58-63.
    4. Jorge E. Araña & Carmelo J. León, 2002. "Willingness to pay for health risk reduction in the context of altruism," Health Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 11(7), pages 623-635.
    5. Matthew Rabin, 2000. "Risk Aversion and Expected-Utility Theory: A Calibration Theorem," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 68(5), pages 1281-1292, September.
    6. Theodore C. Bergstrom, 2006. "Benefit-Cost in a Benevolent Society," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 96(1), pages 339-351, March.
    7. Messer, Kent D. & Poe, Gregory L. & Rondeau, Daniel & Schulze, William D. & Vossler, Christian A., 2010. "Social preferences and voting: An exploration using a novel preference revealing mechanism," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 94(3-4), pages 308-317, April.
    8. Charles A. Holt & Susan K. Laury, 2002. "Risk Aversion and Incentive Effects," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 92(5), pages 1644-1655, December.
    9. Jones-Lee, M W, 1991. "Altruism and the Value of Other People's Safety," Journal of Risk and Uncertainty, Springer, vol. 4(2), pages 213-219, April.
    10. Johannesson, Magnus & Johansson, Per-Olov & O'Conor, Richard M, 1996. "The Value of Private Safety versus the Value of Public Safety," Journal of Risk and Uncertainty, Springer, vol. 13(3), pages 263-275, November.
    11. Matthew Rabin & Richard H. Thaler, 2001. "Anomalies: Risk Aversion," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 15(1), pages 219-232, Winter.
    12. Glenn W. Harrison & Eric Johnson & Melayne M. McInnes & E. Elisabet Rutström, 2005. "Risk Aversion and Incentive Effects: Comment," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 95(3), pages 897-901, June.
    13. Johansson, Per-Olov, 1994. "Altruism and the value of statistical life: Empirical implications," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 13(1), pages 111-118, March.
    14. Flores, Nicholas E., 2002. "Non-paternalistic altruism and welfare economics," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 83(2), pages 293-305, February.
    15. Deacon, Robert T & Shapiro, Perry, 1975. "Private Preference for Collective Goods Revealed Through Voting on Referenda," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 65(5), pages 943-955, December.
    16. Charles A. Holt & Susan K. Laury, 2005. "Risk Aversion and Incentive Effects: New Data without Order Effects," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 95(3), pages 902-912, June.
    17. Thomas P. Holmes, 1990. "Self-Interest, Altruism, and Health-Risk Reduction: An Economic Analysis of Voting Behavior," Land Economics, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 66(2), pages 140-149.
    18. Jones-Lee, M W, 1992. "Paternalistic Altruism and the Value of Statistical Life," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 102(410), pages 80-90, January.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Altruism; risk; voting; public goods; Research Methods/ Statistical Methods; Risk and Uncertainty; D81; D64; H41; C91; C92; D72;

    JEL classification:

    • D81 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Criteria for Decision-Making under Risk and Uncertainty
    • D64 - Microeconomics - - Welfare Economics - - - Altruism; Philanthropy; Intergenerational Transfers
    • H41 - Public Economics - - Publicly Provided Goods - - - Public Goods
    • C91 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments - - - Laboratory, Individual Behavior
    • C92 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments - - - Laboratory, Group Behavior
    • D72 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - Political Processes: Rent-seeking, Lobbying, Elections, Legislatures, and Voting 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:ags:cudawp:51141. 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: (AgEcon Search). General contact details of provider: http://edirc.repec.org/data/dacorus.html .

    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.