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The influences of social context on the measurement of distributional preferences

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  • Matthias Greiff
  • Kurt A. Ackermann
  • Ryan O. Murphy

Abstract

Different social contexts have been used when measuring distributional preferences. This could be problematic as contextual variance may inadvertently muddle the measurement process. We use a within-subjects design and measure distributional preferences in resource allocation tasks with role certainty, role uncertainty, decomposed games, and matrix games. Results show that, at the aggregate level, role uncertainty and decomposed games lead to higher degrees of prosociality when compared to role certainty. At the individual level, we observe considerable differences in behavior across the social contexts, indicating that the majority of people are sensitive to these different social settings but respond in different ways.

Suggested Citation

  • Matthias Greiff & Kurt A. Ackermann & Ryan O. Murphy, 2016. "The influences of social context on the measurement of distributional preferences," ECON - Working Papers 224, Department of Economics - University of Zurich.
  • Handle: RePEc:zur:econwp:224
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Distributional preferences; social preferences; other regarding preferences; Social Value Orientation (SVO); measurement methods; individual differences;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • C91 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments - - - Laboratory, Individual Behavior
    • D03 - Microeconomics - - General - - - Behavioral Microeconomics: Underlying Principles
    • D64 - Microeconomics - - Welfare Economics - - - Altruism; Philanthropy; Intergenerational Transfers

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