Do Human Values Explain Economic Behaviour? An Experimental Study
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.
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