IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/p/ucb/calbwp/e00-283.html
   My bibliography  Save this paper

Social Preferences: Some Simple Tests and a New Model

Author

Listed:
  • Gary Charness and Matthew Rabin.

Abstract

JEL#: A12, A13, B49, C70, C91, D63 Keywords: difference aversion, fairness, inequality aversion, maximin criterion, non-ultimatum games, reciprocal fairness, social preferences Departures from pure self interest in economic experiments have recently inspired models of "social preferences". We conduct experiments on simple two-person and three-person games with binary choices that test these theories more directly than the array of games conventionally considered. Our experiments show strong support for the prevalence of "quasi-maximin" preferences: People sacrifice to increase the payoff for all recipients, but especially for the lowest-payoff recipients. People are also motivated by reciprocity: While people are reluctant to sacrifice to reciprocate good or bad behavior beyond what they would sacrifice for neutral parties, they withdraw willingness to sacrifice to achieve a fair outcome when others are themselves unwilling to sacrifice. Some participants are averse to getting different payoffs than others, but based on our experiments and reinterpretation of previous experiments we argue that behavior that has been presented as "difference aversion" in recent papers is actually a combination of reciprocal and quasi-maximin motivations. We formulate a model in which each player is willing to sacrifice to allocate the quasi-maximin allocation only to those players also believed to be pursuing the quasi-maximin allocation, and may sacrifice to punish unfair players. June 2000

Suggested Citation

  • Gary Charness and Matthew Rabin., 2000. "Social Preferences: Some Simple Tests and a New Model," Economics Working Papers E00-283, University of California at Berkeley.
  • Handle: RePEc:ucb:calbwp:e00-283
    as

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL: http://www.haas.berkeley.edu/groups/iber/wps/econ/E00-283.pdf
    File Function: main text
    Download Restriction: no
    ---><---

    Other versions of this item:

    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Rabin, Matthew, 1997. "Bargaining Structure, Fairness and Efficiency," Department of Economics, Working Paper Series qt35g8s3dd, Department of Economics, Institute for Business and Economic Research, UC Berkeley.
    2. Brandts, Jordi & Sola, Carles, 2001. "Reference Points and Negative Reciprocity in Simple Sequential Games," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 36(2), pages 138-157, August.
    3. Falk, Armin & Fischbacher, Urs, 2006. "A theory of reciprocity," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 54(2), pages 293-315, February.
    4. David K. Levine, 1998. "Modeling Altruism and Spitefulness in Experiment," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 1(3), pages 593-622, July.
    5. Jordi Brandts & Gary Charnes, "undated". "Retribution In A Cheap-Talk Experiment," UFAE and IAE Working Papers 454.00, Unitat de Fonaments de l'Anàlisi Econòmica (UAB) and Institut d'Anàlisi Econòmica (CSIC).
    6. Charness, Gary, 2000. "Responsibility and effort in an experimental labor market," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 42(3), pages 375-384, July.
    7. James Andreoni, 2001. "Giving According to GARP," Theory workshop papers 339, UCLA Department of Economics.
    8. Dufwenberg, Martin & Kirchsteiger, Georg, 2004. "A theory of sequential reciprocity," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 47(2), pages 268-298, May.
    9. Jordi Brandts & Gary Charness, 2000. "Hot vs. Cold: Sequential Responses and Preference Stability in Experimental Games," Experimental Economics, Springer;Economic Science Association, vol. 2(3), pages 227-238, March.
    10. Charness, Gary & Grosskopf, Brit, 2001. "Relative payoffs and happiness: an experimental study," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 45(3), pages 301-328, July.
    11. Axel Ockenfels & Gary E. Bolton, 2000. "ERC: A Theory of Equity, Reciprocity, and Competition," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 90(1), pages 166-193, March.
    12. Gibbons, Robert & Boven, Leaf Van, 2001. "Contingent social utility in the prisoners' dilemma," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 45(1), pages 1-17, May.
    13. Blount, Sally, 1995. "When Social Outcomes Aren't Fair: The Effect of Causal Attributions on Preferences," Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, Elsevier, vol. 63(2), pages 131-144, August.
    14. Güth, Werner & Huck, Steffen & Müller, Wieland, 1998. "The relevance of equal splits: On a behavioral discontinuity in ultimatum games," SFB 373 Discussion Papers 1998,7, Humboldt University of Berlin, Interdisciplinary Research Project 373: Quantification and Simulation of Economic Processes.
    15. Gary Charness, 1996. "Attribution and reciprocity in a simulated labor market: An experimental investigation," Economics Working Papers 283, Department of Economics and Business, Universitat Pompeu Fabra, revised Oct 1997.
    16. Geanakoplos, John & Pearce, David & Stacchetti, Ennio, 1989. "Psychological games and sequential rationality," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 1(1), pages 60-79, March.
    17. Timothy N. Cason & Vai-Lam Mui, 1998. "Social Influence in the Sequential Dictator Game," Monash Economics Working Papers archive-37, Monash University, Department of Economics.
    18. Andreoni, James & Brown, Paul M. & Vesterlund, Lise, 2002. "What Makes an Allocation Fair? Some Experimental Evidence," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 40(1), pages 1-24, July.
    19. Offerman, Theo & Sonnemans, Joep & Schram, Arthur, 1996. "Value Orientations, Expectations and Voluntary Contributions in Public Goods," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 106(437), pages 817-845, July.
    20. Gary E. Bolton & Axel Ockenfels, 1998. "Strategy and Equity: An ERC Analysis of the Guth-van Damme Game," Levine's Working Paper Archive 2060, David K. Levine.
    21. Rabin, Matthew, 1993. "Incorporating Fairness into Game Theory and Economics," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 83(5), pages 1281-1302, December.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    Most related items

    These are the items that most often cite the same works as this one and are cited by the same works as this one.
    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. Falk, Armin & Fehr, Ernst & Fischbacher, Urs, 2008. "Testing theories of fairness--Intentions matter," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 62(1), pages 287-303, January.
    3. Armin Falk & Ernst Fehr & Urs Fischbacher, 2003. "On the Nature of Fair Behavior," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 41(1), pages 20-26, January.
    4. Xiao, Erte & Bicchieri, Cristina, 2010. "When equality trumps reciprocity," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 31(3), pages 456-470, June.
    5. López-Pérez, Raúl, 2008. "Aversion to norm-breaking: A model," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 64(1), pages 237-267, September.
    6. Cox, James C. & Friedman, Daniel & Gjerstad, Steven, 2007. "A tractable model of reciprocity and fairness," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 59(1), pages 17-45, April.
    7. Gary Bolton & Axel Ockenfels, 2005. "A stress test of fairness measures in models of social utility," Economic Theory, Springer;Society for the Advancement of Economic Theory (SAET), vol. 25(4), pages 957-982, June.
    8. Fehr, Ernst & Schmidt, Klaus M., 2005. "The Economics of Fairness, Reciprocity and Altruism – Experimental Evidence and New Theories," Discussion Paper Series of SFB/TR 15 Governance and the Efficiency of Economic Systems 66, Free University of Berlin, Humboldt University of Berlin, University of Bonn, University of Mannheim, University of Munich.
    9. Verena Utikal & Urs Fischbacher, 2009. "On the attribution of externalities," TWI Research Paper Series 46, Thurgauer Wirtschaftsinstitut, Universität Konstanz.
    10. Charness, Gary & Rabin, Matthew, 2005. "Expressed preferences and behavior in experimental games," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 53(2), pages 151-169, November.
    11. Stanca, Luca & Bruni, Luigino & Corazzini, Luca, 2009. "Testing theories of reciprocity: Do motivations matter?," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 71(2), pages 233-245, August.
    12. Dhaene, Geert & Bouckaert, Jan, 2010. "Sequential reciprocity in two-player, two-stage games: An experimental analysis," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 70(2), pages 289-303, November.
    13. Al-Ubaydli, Omar & Lee, Min Sok, 2009. "An experimental study of asymmetric reciprocity," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 72(2), pages 738-749, November.
    14. Çelen, Boğaçhan & Schotter, Andrew & Blanco, Mariana, 2017. "On blame and reciprocity: Theory and experiments," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 169(C), pages 62-92.
    15. Jordi Brandts & Gary Charness, 2000. "Do market conditions affect preferences? Evidence from experimental markets with excess supply and excess demand," Economics Working Papers 491, Department of Economics and Business, Universitat Pompeu Fabra.
    16. Luca Corazzini, Sebastian Kube, Michel André Maréchal, 2007. "Towards a Behavioral Public Choice: Guilt-Aversion and Accountability in the Lab," ISLA Working Papers 27, ISLA, Centre for research on Latin American Studies and Transition Economies, Universita' Bocconi, Milano, Italy.
    17. Stanca, Luca, 2010. "How to be kind? Outcomes versus intentions as determinants of fairness," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 106(1), pages 19-21, January.
    18. Binmore, Ken & McCarthy, John & Ponti, Giovanni & Samuelson, Larry & Shaked, Avner, 2002. "A Backward Induction Experiment," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 104(1), pages 48-88, May.
    19. Ernst Fehr & Urs Fischbacher, "undated". "Why Social Preferences Matter - The Impact of Non-Selfish Motives on Competition," IEW - Working Papers 084, Institute for Empirical Research in Economics - University of Zurich.
    20. Ernst Fehr & Klaus M. Schmidt, "undated". "Theories of Fairness and Reciprocity - Evidence and Economic Applications," IEW - Working Papers 075, Institute for Empirical Research in Economics - University of Zurich.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    difference aversion; fairness; inequality aversion; maximin criterion; non-ultimatum games; reciprocal fairness; social preferences departures from pure self interest in economic experiments have recently inspired models of "; social preferences"; . we conduct experiments on simple two-person and three-person games with binary choices that test these theories more directly than the array of games conventionally considered. our experiments show strong support for the prevalence of "; quasi-maximin"; preferences: people sacrifice to increase the payoff for all recipients; but especially for the lowest-payoff recipients. people are also motivated by reciprocity: while people are reluctant to sacrifice to reciprocate good or bad behavior beyond what they would sacrifice for neutral parties; they withdraw willingness to sacrifice to achieve a fair outcome when others are themselves unwilling to sacrifice. some participants are averse to getting different payoffs than others; but based on our experiments and reinterpretation of previous experiments we argue that behavior that has been presented as "; difference aversion"; in recent papers is actually a combination of reciprocal and quasi-maximin motivations. we formulate a model in which each player is willing to sacrifice to allocate the quasi-maximin allocation only to those players also believed to be pursuing the quasi-maximin allocation; and may sacrifice to punish unfair players. june 2000;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • A12 - General Economics and Teaching - - General Economics - - - Relation of Economics to Other Disciplines
    • A13 - General Economics and Teaching - - General Economics - - - Relation of Economics to Social Values
    • B49 - Schools of Economic Thought and Methodology - - Economic Methodology - - - Other
    • C70 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Game Theory and Bargaining Theory - - - General
    • C91 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments - - - Laboratory, Individual Behavior
    • D63 - Microeconomics - - Welfare Economics - - - Equity, Justice, Inequality, and Other Normative Criteria and Measurement

    Statistics

    Access and download statistics

    Corrections

    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:ucb:calbwp:e00-283. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: . General contact details of provider: https://edirc.repec.org/data/debrkus.html .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a bibliographic reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: Christopher F. Baum (email available below). General contact details of provider: https://edirc.repec.org/data/debrkus.html .

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.