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Where Do Social Preferences Come From?

Author

Listed:
  • Chaning Jang

    (Princeton University, Department of Psychology)

  • John Lynham

    (University of Hawaii at Manoa, Department of Economics)

Abstract

Where do preferences for fairness come from? We use a unique field setting to test for a spillover of sharing norms from the workplace to a laboratory experiment. Fishermen working in teams receive random income shocks (catching fish) that they must regularly divide among themselves. We demonstrate a clear correlation between sharing norms in the field and sharing norms in the lab. Furthermore, the spillover effect is stronger for fishermen who have been exposed to a sharing norm for longer, suggesting that our findings are not driven by selection effects. Our results are consistent with the hypothesis that work environments shape social preferences.

Suggested Citation

  • Chaning Jang & John Lynham, 2015. "Where Do Social Preferences Come From?," Working Papers 201511, University of Hawaii at Manoa, Department of Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:hai:wpaper:201511
    as

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    File URL: http://www.economics.hawaii.edu/research/workingpapers/WP_15-11.pdf
    File Function: First version, 2015
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Gary Charness & Matthew Rabin, 2002. "Understanding Social Preferences with Simple Tests," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 117(3), pages 817-869.
    2. Uri Gneezy & Andreas Leibbrandt & John A. List, 2016. "Ode to the Sea: Workplace Organizations and Norms of Cooperation," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 126(595), pages 1856-1883, September.
    3. Joseph Henrich, 2001. "In Search of Homo Economicus: Behavioral Experiments in 15 Small-Scale Societies," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 91(2), pages 73-78, May.
    4. Jeffrey Carpenter & Stephen Burks & Lorenz Götte, 2006. "Performance Pay and the Erosion of Worker Cooperation: Field experimental evidence," Middlebury College Working Paper Series 0603, Middlebury College, Department of Economics.
    5. Carpenter Jeffrey P & Seki Erika, 2005. "Competitive Work Environments and Social Preferences: Field Experimental Evidence from a Japanese Fishing Community," The B.E. Journal of Economic Analysis & Policy, De Gruyter, vol. 5(2), pages 1-25, December.
    6. Henrich, Joseph & Boyd, Robert & Bowles, Samuel & Camerer, Colin & Fehr, Ernst & Gintis, Herbert (ed.), 2004. "Foundations of Human Sociality: Economic Experiments and Ethnographic Evidence from Fifteen Small-Scale Societies," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780199262052.
    7. McConnell, Kenneth E. & Price, Michael, 2006. "The lay system in commercial fisheries: Origin and implications," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 51(3), pages 295-307, May.
    8. Fatima Lambarraa & Gerhard Riener, 2012. "On the Norms of Charitable Giving in Islam: A Field Experiment," Courant Research Centre: Poverty, Equity and Growth - Discussion Papers 111, Courant Research Centre PEG.
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    10. Hessel Oosterbeek & Randolph Sloof & Gijs van de Kuilen, 2004. "Cultural Differences in Ultimatum Game Experiments: Evidence from a Meta-Analysis," Experimental Economics, Springer;Economic Science Association, vol. 7(2), pages 171-188, June.
    11. Samuel Bowles & Robert Boyd & Colin Camerer & Ernst Fehr & Herbert Gintis & Joseph Henrich & Richard McElreath, 2001. "In search of homo economicus: Experiments in 15 small-scale societies," Artefactual Field Experiments 00068, The Field Experiments Website.
    12. Joseph Henrich, 2000. "Does culture matter in economic behavior? Ultimatum game bargaining among the machiguenga," Artefactual Field Experiments 00067, The Field Experiments Website.
    13. Lambarraa, Fatima & Riener, Gerhard, 2015. "On the norms of charitable giving in Islam: Two field experiments in Morocco," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 118(C), pages 69-84.
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    Cited by:

    1. Drupp, Moritz A. & Khadjavi, Menusch & Quaas, Martin F., 2016. "Truth-telling and the regulator: Evidence from a field experiment with commercial fishermen," Kiel Working Papers 2063, Kiel Institute for the World Economy (IfW).

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • Q2 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Renewable Resources and Conservation
    • C9 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments
    • C7 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Game Theory and Bargaining Theory
    • B4 - Schools of Economic Thought and Methodology - - Economic Methodology
    • D1 - Microeconomics - - Household Behavior

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