Distributional preferences explain individual behavior across games and time

Morten Hedegaard, Rudolf Kerschbamer, Daniel Müller, Jean-Robert Tyran

Publications: Contribution to journalArticlePeer Reviewed

Abstract

We use a large and heterogeneous sample of the Danish population to investigate the importance of distributional preferences for behavior in a trust game and a public good game. We find robust evidence for the significant explanatory power of distributional preferences. In fact, compared to twenty-one covariates, distributional preferences turn out to be the single most important predictor of behavior. Specifically, subjects who reveal benevolence in the domain of advantageous inequality are more likely to pick the trustworthy action in the trust game and contribute more to the public good than other subjects. Since the experiments were spread out more than one year, our results suggest that there is a component of distributional preferences that is stable across games and over time.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)231-255
Number of pages25
JournalGames and Economic Behavior
Volume128
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2021

Austrian Fields of Science 2012

  • 502045 Behavioural economics
  • 502057 Experimental economics

Keywords

  • Experimental economics
  • Distributional preferences
  • social preferences
  • online experiment
  • Public goods game
  • INEQUALITY AVERSION
  • Equality-Equivalence Test
  • Representative online experiment
  • SOCIAL PREFERENCES
  • RISK-AVERSION
  • COOPERATION
  • Dictator game
  • Trust game
  • MAXIMIN PREFERENCES
  • FAIRNESS
  • EXPECTATIONS
  • EFFICIENCY
  • EQUITY
  • ALTRUISM
  • Social preferences

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