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Social preferences are stable over long periods of time

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  • Carlsson, Fredrik

    () (Department of Economics, School of Business, Economics and Law, Göteborg University)

  • Johansson-Stenman, Olof

    () (Department of Economics, School of Business, Economics and Law, Göteborg University)

  • Pham, Khanh Nam

    () (Department of Economics, School of Business, Economics and Law, Göteborg University)

Abstract

We measure people’s prosocial behavior, in terms of voluntary money and labor time contributions to an archetypical public good, a bridge, and in terms of voluntary money contributions in a public good game, using the same non-student sample in rural Vietnam at four different points in time from 2005 to 2011. Two of the experiments are natural experiment, one is a field experiment and one is a public good experiment. Since the experiments were conducted far apart in time, the potentially confounding effects of moral licensing and moral cleansing are presumably small, if existing at all. Despite large contextual variations, we find a strong positive and statistically significant correlation between voluntary contributions in these experiments, whether correcting for other covariates or not. This suggests that pro-social preferences are fairly stable over long periods of time and contexts.

Suggested Citation

  • Carlsson, Fredrik & Johansson-Stenman, Olof & Pham, Khanh Nam, 2012. "Social preferences are stable over long periods of time," Working Papers in Economics 531, University of Gothenburg, Department of Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:hhs:gunwpe:0531
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    File URL: http://hdl.handle.net/2077/29170
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    2. Antonio M. Espin & Angel Sanchez & Benedikt Herrmann, 2017. "Economic preferences 2.0: Connecting competition, cooperation and inter-temporal preferences," Discussion Papers 2017-04, The Centre for Decision Research and Experimental Economics, School of Economics, University of Nottingham.
    3. Degli Antoni, Giacomo & Grimalda, Gianluca, 2016. "Groups and trust: Experimental evidence on the Olson and Putnam hypotheses," Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics (formerly The Journal of Socio-Economics), Elsevier, vol. 61(C), pages 38-54.
    4. Joan Costa-i-Font & Frank Cowell, 2015. "European Identity and Redistributive Preferences," CESifo Working Paper Series 5412, CESifo Group Munich.
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    7. Arbel, Yuval & Bar-El, Ronen & Tobol, Yossef, 2016. "Fundraising to a real-life public good – evidence from the laboratory," Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics (formerly The Journal of Socio-Economics), Elsevier, vol. 65(C), pages 27-37.
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    11. Adrian Bruhin & Ernst Fehr & Daniel Schunk, 2016. "The Many Faces of Human Sociality: Uncovering the Distribution and Stability of Social Preferences," Working Papers 1603, Gutenberg School of Management and Economics, Johannes Gutenberg-Universität Mainz, revised 01 Feb 2016.
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    14. Engelmann, Dirk & Friedrichsen, Jana & Kübler, Dorothea, 2018. "Fairness in Markets and Market Experiments," Rationality and Competition Discussion Paper Series 64, CRC TRR 190 Rationality and Competition.
    15. Gallier, Carlo & Reif, Christiane & Römer, Daniel, 2014. "Consistent or balanced? On the dynamics of voluntary contributions," ZEW Discussion Papers 14-060, ZEW - Zentrum für Europäische Wirtschaftsforschung / Center for European Economic Research.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    natural field experiment; preference stability; social preferences; moral licensing; moral cleansing.;

    JEL classification:

    • C93 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments - - - Field Experiments
    • H41 - Public Economics - - Publicly Provided Goods - - - Public Goods

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