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On the construction of social preferences in lab experiments

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  • Borgloh, Sarah
  • Dannenberg, Astrid
  • Aretz, Bodo

Abstract

This paper studies the construction of social preferences in the lab. Experimental subjects have the opportunity to donate to a charity and to allocate money in a conventional dictator game. The results show that charitable donations and dictator game allocations are positively correlated. The correlation is only significant, however, if the dictator game follows the donation decision. Furthermore, while donation behavior is independent from the order of play, dictator game behavior is not. In line with the constructive-preference approach, we argue that preferences are instable and sensitive to outside influences when subjects are confronted with a new decision situation, while in a well-known situation preferences are more stable.

Suggested Citation

  • Borgloh, Sarah & Dannenberg, Astrid & Aretz, Bodo, 2010. "On the construction of social preferences in lab experiments," ZEW Discussion Papers 10-085, ZEW - Zentrum für Europäische Wirtschaftsforschung / Center for European Economic Research.
  • Handle: RePEc:zbw:zewdip:10085
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    File URL: https://www.econstor.eu/bitstream/10419/42221/1/640255272.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Branas-Garza, Pablo, 2006. "Poverty in dictator games: Awakening solidarity," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 60(3), pages 306-320, July.
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    Cited by:

    1. John Smith, 2012. "The endogenous nature of the measurement of social preferences," Mind & Society: Cognitive Studies in Economics and Social Sciences, Springer;Fondazione Rosselli, vol. 11(2), pages 235-256, December.
    2. Ulrik H. Nielsen, 2014. "Parents' Education and their Adult Offspring's Other-Regarding Behavour," Discussion Papers 14-03, University of Copenhagen. Department of Economics.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    social preferences; charitable donations; dictator game; experiment;

    JEL classification:

    • C91 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments - - - Laboratory, Individual Behavior
    • C93 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments - - - Field Experiments
    • D01 - Microeconomics - - General - - - Microeconomic Behavior: Underlying Principles
    • D64 - Microeconomics - - Welfare Economics - - - Altruism; Philanthropy; Intergenerational Transfers

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