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Distinguishing Social Preferences from Preferences for Altruism

  • Raymond Fisman
  • Shachar Kariv
  • Daniel Markovits

We report a laboratory experiment that enables us to distinguish preferences for altruism (concerning tradeoffs between own payoffs and the payoffs of others) from social preferences (concerning tradeoffs between the payoffs of others). By using graphical representations of three-person Dictator Games that vary the relative prices of giving, we generate a very rich data set well-suited to studying behavior at the level of the individual subject. We attempt to recover subjects’ underlying preferences by estimating a constant elasticity of substitution (CES) model that represents altruistic and social preferences. We find that both social preferences and preferences for altruism are highly heterogeneous, ranging from utilitarian to Rawlsian. In spite of this heterogeneity across subjects, there exists a strong positive withinsubject correlation between the efficiency-equity tradeoffs made in altruistic and social preferences.

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File URL: http://socrates.berkeley.edu/~kariv/FKM_III.pdf
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Paper provided by UCLA Department of Economics in its series Levine's Bibliography with number 784828000000000284.

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Date of creation: 19 Sep 2005
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Handle: RePEc:cla:levrem:784828000000000284
Contact details of provider: Web page: http://www.dklevine.com/

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  1. Gary E Bolton & Axel Ockenfels, 1997. "A Theory of Equity, Reciprocity, and Competition," Levine's Working Paper Archive 1889, David K. Levine.
  2. Gary E. Bolton & Axel Ockenfels, 1998. "Strategy and Equity: An ERC Analysis of the Guth-van Damme Game," Levine's Working Paper Archive 2060, David K. Levine.
  3. Edi Karni & Zvi Safra, 2002. "Individual Sense of Justice: A Utility Representation," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 70(1), pages 263-284, January.
  4. Ernst Fehr & Klaus M. Schmidt, . "A Theory of Fairness, Competition and Cooperation," IEW - Working Papers 004, Institute for Empirical Research in Economics - University of Zurich.
  5. M. Rabin, 2001. "Incorporating Fairness into Game Theory and Economics," Levine's Working Paper Archive 511, David K. Levine.
  6. Raymond Fisman & Shachar Kariv & Daniel Markovits, 2005. "Individual Preferences for Giving," Game Theory and Information 0504007, EconWPA.
  7. Charness, Gary B & Rabin, Matthew, 2001. "Understanding Social Preferences With Simple Tests," University of California at Santa Barbara, Economics Working Paper Series qt0dc3k4m5, Department of Economics, UC Santa Barbara.
  8. 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.
  9. David K Levine, 1997. "Modeling Altruism and Spitefulness in Experiments," Levine's Working Paper Archive 2047, David K. Levine.
  10. James Andreoni & William Harbaugh, 2005. "Power Indicies for Revealed Preference Tests," Levine's Bibliography 784828000000000181, UCLA Department of Economics.
  11. G. Bolton, 2010. "A comparative model of bargaining: theory and evidence," Levine's Working Paper Archive 263, David K. Levine.
  12. James Andreoni & John Miller, 2002. "Giving According to GARP: An Experimental Test of the Consistency of Preferences for Altruism," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 70(2), pages 737-753, March.
  13. Hal R. Varian, 1983. "Non-parametric Tests of Consumer Behaviour," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 50(1), pages 99-110.
  14. Afriat, Sidney N, 1972. "Efficiency Estimation of Production Function," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 13(3), pages 568-98, October.
  15. Raymond Fisman & Shachar Kariv & Daniel Markovits, 2005. "Distinguishing Social Preferences from Preferences for Altruism," Levine's Bibliography 784828000000000284, UCLA Department of Economics.
  16. Varian, Hal R, 1982. "The Nonparametric Approach to Demand Analysis," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 50(4), pages 945-73, July.
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