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Do Human Values Explain Economic Behaviour? An Experimental Study

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Abstract

In contrast to current literature which mainly identifies relationships between particular economic behaviours and specific attitudes suggestive of those behaviours, we explore the potential of general human values for explaining economic behaviour. In particular, we investigate whether behaviours observed in binary-choice lotteries, time discounting, public good, ultimatum, dictator and trust game experiments can be explained by Schwartz’s theory of universal human values. We find that the values have explanatory power in relation to strategic, but not parametric, behaviours. We discuss this finding in terms of the sociology of values and suggest that situations involving human interactions provide the most conducive context for the expression of values. We also find that different subsets of the values relate to different strategic behaviours, indicating that there is no redundancy in their explanatory power.

Suggested Citation

  • Swee-Hoon Chuah, 2010. "Do Human Values Explain Economic Behaviour? An Experimental Study," ICBBR Working Papers 6, International Centre for Behavioural Business Research.
  • Handle: RePEc:bbr:workpa:6
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    File URL: http://www.nottingham.ac.uk/~lizecon/RePEc/bbr/pdf/6.pdf
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    Keywords

    Values; behaviour; survey; experiments;

    JEL classification:

    • C72 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Game Theory and Bargaining Theory - - - Noncooperative Games
    • C83 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Data Collection and Data Estimation Methodology; Computer Programs - - - Survey Methods; Sampling Methods
    • C91 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments - - - Laboratory, Individual Behavior
    • D81 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Criteria for Decision-Making under Risk and Uncertainty

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