Social vs. risk preferences under the veil of ignorance
This paper reports experimental evidence from a Dictator Game experiment in which subjects choose repeatedly one out of four options involving a pair of fixed monetary prizes, one for them, one for another anonymously matched subject. In some sessions, player position (i.e. the identity of the best paid agent, constant across all options) is known in advance before subjects have to make their decision; in other sessions subjects choose “under the veil of ignorance”, not knowing to which player position they will be eventually assigned. We also collect evidence from additional sessions in which the same options correspond to binary lotteries, in which subjects may win the high or the low prize, but their decisions do not affect other participants. We frame subjects’ decisions within the realm of a simple mean-variance utility maximization problem, where the parameter associated to the variance is interpreted, depending on the treatment conditions, as a measure of pure risk aversion, pure inequality aversion, or some combination of the two. We also condition our estimates to subjects’ individual socio-demographic characteristics.
|Date of creation:||Mar 2011|
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