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Social Preferences and Public Economics: Are good laws a substitute for good citizens?

Author

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  • Samuel Bowles

    ()

Abstract

Laws and policies designed to harness self-regarding preferences to public ends may fail when they compromise the beneficial effects of pro-social preferences. Experimental evidence indicates that incentives that appeal to self interest may reduce the salience of intrinsic motivation, reciprocity, and other civic motives. Motivational crowding in also occurs. The evidence for these processes is reviewed and a model of optimal explicit incentives is presented.

Suggested Citation

  • Samuel Bowles, 2007. "Social Preferences and Public Economics: Are good laws a substitute for good citizens?," Department of Economics University of Siena 496, Department of Economics, University of Siena.
  • Handle: RePEc:usi:wpaper:496
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    File URL: http://repec.deps.unisi.it/quaderni/496.pdf
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    Cited by:

    1. Rodriguez-Sickert, Carlos & Guzmán, Ricardo Andrés & Cárdenas, Juan Camilo, 2008. "Institutions influence preferences: Evidence from a common pool resource experiment," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 67(1), pages 215-227, July.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Social preferences; implementation theory; incentive contracts; incomplete contracts; framing; behavioral experiments; motivational crowding out; ethical norms; constitutions;

    JEL classification:

    • D64 - Microeconomics - - Welfare Economics - - - Altruism; Philanthropy; Intergenerational Transfers
    • D52 - Microeconomics - - General Equilibrium and Disequilibrium - - - Incomplete Markets
    • H41 - Public Economics - - Publicly Provided Goods - - - Public Goods
    • H21 - Public Economics - - Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue - - - Efficiency; Optimal Taxation
    • Z13 - Other Special Topics - - Cultural Economics - - - Economic Sociology; Economic Anthropology; Language; Social and Economic Stratification
    • C92 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments - - - Laboratory, Group Behavior

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