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Sorting, Prices, and Social Preferences

Author

Listed:
  • Edward Lazear
  • Ulrike Malmendier
  • Roberto Weber

Abstract

What impact do social preferences have in market-type settings where individuals can sort in response to relative prices? We show that sorting behavior can distinguish between individuals who like to share and those who share but prefer to avoid the sharing environment altogether. In four laboratory experiments, prices and social preferences interact to determine the composition of sharing environments: Costless sorting reduces the number of sharers, even after inducing positive reciprocity. Subsidized sharing increases entry, but mainly by the least generous sharers. Costly sharing reduces entry, but attracts those who share generously. We discuss implications for real-world giving with sorting.

Suggested Citation

  • Edward Lazear & Ulrike Malmendier & Roberto Weber, 2006. "Sorting, Prices, and Social Preferences," NBER Working Papers 12041, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:12041
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • B41 - Schools of Economic Thought and Methodology - - Economic Methodology - - - Economic Methodology
    • C90 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments - - - General
    • D64 - Microeconomics - - Welfare Economics - - - Altruism; Philanthropy; Intergenerational Transfers

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