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Searching for Evidence of Alternative Preferences, Public as Opposed to Private

Author

Listed:
  • Clifford S. Russell

    (Department of Economics, Vanderbilt University)

  • Thomas Bue Bjorner

    () (AKF, Denmark)

  • Christopher D. Clark

    (University of South Alabama)

Abstract

Important economic thinkers such as Sen, Arrow and Harsanyi have argued for the existence of multiple preference orderings, allowing individuals to make choices, both when only private welfare is at stake and when the good of some collective is involved. Further, recent literature has shown that the presence of altruistic, as opposed to "private", preferences may have important implications for environmental regulation and the optimal provision of public goods. However, only limited empirical work has been carried out to test for the presence of such preferences. This paper presents an empirical study, done in Denmark and the US, that supports the existence of such preferences. More precisely, the study finds that in both countries expressions of two types of altruistic preferences can be triggered in a predictable, controllable way by small framing changes in a questionnaire. It is suggested that the method used may itself be useful in further studies testing for other varieties of altruism.

Suggested Citation

  • Clifford S. Russell & Thomas Bue Bjorner & Christopher D. Clark, 2001. "Searching for Evidence of Alternative Preferences, Public as Opposed to Private," Vanderbilt University Department of Economics Working Papers 0101, Vanderbilt University Department of Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:van:wpaper:0101
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Johansson-Stenman , Olof & Svedsäter, Henrik, 2003. "Self Image And Choice Experiments: Hypothetical And Actual Willingness To Pay," Working Papers in Economics 94, University of Gothenburg, Department of Economics.
    2. Ito, Nobuyuki & Takeuchi, Kenji & Kuriyama, Koichi & Shoji, Yasushi & Tsuge, Takahiro & Mitani, Yohei, 2009. "The influence of decision-making rules on individual preferences for ecological restoration: Evidence from an experimental survey," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 68(8-9), pages 2426-2431, June.
    3. Alphonce, Roselyne & Alfnes, Frode & Sharma, Amit, 2014. "Consumer vs. citizen willingness to pay for restaurant food safety," Food Policy, Elsevier, vol. 49(P1), pages 160-166.
    4. Alvarez-Farizo, Begona & Hanley, Nick & Barberan, Ramon & Lazaro, Angelina, 2007. "Choice modeling at the "market stall": Individual versus collective interest in environmental valuation," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 60(4), pages 743-751, February.
    5. Ek, Kristina, 2005. "Public and private attitudes towards "green" electricity: the case of Swedish wind power," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 33(13), pages 1677-1689, September.
    6. Ovaskainen, Ville & Kniivila, Matleena, 2005. "Consumer versus citizen preferences in contingent valuation: evidence on the role of question framing," Australian Journal of Agricultural and Resource Economics, Australian Agricultural and Resource Economics Society, vol. 49(4), December.
    7. Francisco Alpizar & Fredrik Carlsson & Olof Johansson-Stenman, 2008. "Does context matter more for hypothetical than for actual contributions? Evidence from a natural field experiment," Experimental Economics, Springer;Economic Science Association, vol. 11(3), pages 299-314, September.
    8. Alpizar, Francisco & Carlsson, Fredrik & Johansson-Stenman, Olof, 2008. "Full title Does Context Matter More for Hypothetical Than for Actual Contributions? Evidence from a Natural Field Experiment," Discussion Papers dp-08-02-efd, Resources For the Future.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Altruism; commited and sympathestic preferences; framing;

    JEL classification:

    • A13 - General Economics and Teaching - - General Economics - - - Relation of Economics to Social Values
    • B40 - Schools of Economic Thought and Methodology - - Economic Methodology - - - General
    • D64 - Microeconomics - - Welfare Economics - - - Altruism; Philanthropy; Intergenerational Transfers
    • H41 - Public Economics - - Publicly Provided Goods - - - Public Goods
    • Q26 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Renewable Resources and Conservation - - - Recreational Aspects of Natural Resources
    • Z13 - Other Special Topics - - Cultural Economics - - - Economic Sociology; Economic Anthropology; Language; Social and Economic Stratification

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