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Reference Point Effects in Antisocial Preferences

Listed author(s):
  • Klaus Abbink
  • David Masclet
  • Matthijs van Veelen

We study antisocial preferences in simple money-burning tasks. A decision maker can choose whether or not to reduce another person's payoff at an own cost. We vary across tasks the initial endowment of the decider and the victim. We find that most conventional expectations are refuted: Subjects burn more when inequality is advantageous than when it is disadvantageous. Equitable distributions are particularly prone to destruction. These effects are reversed, however, when the equivalent tasks are framed as creation instead of destruction. Nous étudions les préférences antisociales à l'aide d'un jeu simple de money burning. Dans ce jeu, un agent doit choisir s'il souhaite ou pas réduire, moyennant un cout, le gain d'un autre agent. Nous avons fait varier les gains des deux agents. Nos résultats indiquent que les agents n'hésitent pas à « bruler » l'argent des autres, y compris lorsque les écarts de gains sont à l'avantage du décideur, ce qui réfute clairement l'hypothèse d'aversion à l'inégalité. Les cas où les gains du décideur et de la victime sont identiques sont particulièrement sujets à destruction. Nous observons également que les décisions de destructions sont particulièrement sensibles aux effets de framing.

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Paper provided by CIRANO in its series CIRANO Working Papers with number 2011s-11.

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Length: 14 pages
Date of creation: 01 Jan 2011
Handle: RePEc:cir:cirwor:2011s-11
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