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Social Preferences Among the People of Sanquianga in Colombia


  • Juan Camilo Cárdenas



The afro-descendent people of the Sanquianga region in the Colombian Pacific Coast live under particularly extreme poverty conditions. Although highly integrated to markets through very frequent interactions, their access to basic social services and stable income generating activities are constrained, and their dependence on their local commons for food, fisheries, wood and firewood is high. Nevertheless, their pro-social preferences are rather high compared to other regions of Colombia and the world. High levels of altruism, sharing, reciprocity and hyper-fairness were observed in a series of Dictator, Ultimatum and Third-Party Punishment experiments conducted with a sample of 186 adults of two villages in the region. One of the more striking findings is that personal material wealth is associated with lower levels of generosity in the DG and UG games. Some explanations based on the historical roots of these small-scale societies may explain such pro-social behavior.

Suggested Citation

  • Juan Camilo Cárdenas, 2008. "Social Preferences Among the People of Sanquianga in Colombia," DOCUMENTOS CEDE 004985, UNIVERSIDAD DE LOS ANDES-CEDE.
  • Handle: RePEc:col:000089:004985

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Ernst Fehr & Urs Fischbacher, "undated". "Third Party Punishment and Social Norms," IEW - Working Papers 106, Institute for Empirical Research in Economics - University of Zurich.
    2. Ernst Fehr & Klaus M. Schmidt, 1999. "A Theory of Fairness, Competition, and Cooperation," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 114(3), pages 817-868.
    3. Cardenas, Juan Camilo & Stranlund, John & Willis, Cleve, 2002. "Economic inequality and burden-sharing in the provision of local environmental quality," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 40(3), pages 379-395, March.
    4. Samuel Bowles, 1998. "Endogenous Preferences: The Cultural Consequences of Markets and Other Economic Institutions," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 36(1), pages 75-111, March.
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    More about this item


    poverty; generosity; pro-sociality; experimental economics; dictator; ultimatum; third-party punishment; Sanquianga; Pacific Coast; afro-descendants;

    JEL classification:

    • C93 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments - - - Field Experiments
    • D1 - Microeconomics - - Household Behavior
    • D31 - Microeconomics - - Distribution - - - Personal Income and Wealth Distribution
    • D63 - Microeconomics - - Welfare Economics - - - Equity, Justice, Inequality, and Other Normative Criteria and Measurement
    • D64 - Microeconomics - - Welfare Economics - - - Altruism; Philanthropy; Intergenerational Transfers
    • I32 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Welfare, Well-Being, and Poverty - - - Measurement and Analysis of Poverty


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