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Too smart to be selfish? Measures of intelligence, social preferences, and consistency

  • Chen, Chia-Ching
  • Chiu, I-Ming
  • Smith, John
  • Yamada, Tetsuji

Although there is an increasing interest in examining the relationship between cognitive ability and economic behavior, less is known about the relationship between cognitive ability and social preferences. We investigate the relationship between strongly incentivized measures of intelligence and measures of social preferences. We have data on a series of small-stakes dictator-type decisions, known as Social Value Orientation (SVO), in addition to choices in a larger-stakes dictator game. We also have access to the grade point averages (GPA) and Scholastic Aptitude Test (SAT) outcomes of our subjects. We find that subjects who perform better on the math portion of the SAT are more generous in both the dictator game and the SVO measure. By contrast we find that subjects with a higher GPA are more selfish in the dictator game and more generous according to the SVO. We also find that the consistency of the subjects is related to GPA but we do not find evidence that it is related to either portion of the SAT.

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Paper provided by University Library of Munich, Germany in its series MPRA Paper with number 34438.

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Date of creation: 01 Nov 2011
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Handle: RePEc:pra:mprapa:34438
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  17. Camerer, Colin F & Hogarth, Robin M, 1999. "The Effects of Financial Incentives in Experiments: A Review and Capital-Labor-Production Framework," Journal of Risk and Uncertainty, Springer, vol. 19(1-3), pages 7-42, December.
  18. Yang, Bijou & Lester, David, 2008. "Reflections on rational choice--The existence of systematic irrationality," Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics (formerly The Journal of Socio-Economics), Elsevier, vol. 37(3), pages 1218-1233, June.
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