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Social preferences under risk: an experimental analysis

Listed author(s):
  • Bradler, Christiane

The literature on social preferences provides overwhelming evidence of departures from pure self-interest of individuals. Experiments show that people care about others' well-being and their relative standing. This paper investigates whether this type of behavior persists when risk comes into play. I devise an experiment which sheds light on the interrelation of risk and social preferences by measuring (1) individual risk preferences, (2) interpersonal risk preferences, and (3) social preferences under certainty. The results reveal that a large share of subjects choose to accept more risk or less potential gain than individually preferred in order to increase another subject's payoff. Further, the willingness to do so appears to be influenced by the need of the other person and her potential relative standing. Surprisingly, the results do not suggest that a subject's social behavior under risk is related to his social concerns exhibited under certainty.

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Paper provided by ZEW - Zentrum für Europäische Wirtschaftsforschung / Center for European Economic Research in its series ZEW Discussion Papers with number 09-077.

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Date of creation: 2009
Handle: RePEc:zbw:zewdip:09077
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