Too Smart to Be Selfish? Measures of Cognitive Ability, Social Preferences, and Consistency
New York Medical College- School of Health Sciences and Practices & Institute of Public Health
Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey - Rutgers University, Camden
Dr. Tetsuji Yamada
Rutgers University, Camden - Camden College of Arts and Sciences - Department of Economics
February 8, 2013
Although there is an increasing interest in examining the relationship between cognitive ability and economic behavior, less is known about the relationship between cognitive ability and social preferences. We investigate the relationship between significant measures of intelligence and measures of social preferences. We have data on a series of small-stakes dictator-type decisions, known as Social Value Orientation (SVO), in addition to choices in a larger-stakes dictator game. We also have access to the grade point averages (GPA) and SAT (formerly referred to as the Scholastic Aptitude Test) outcomes of our subjects. We find that subjects who perform better on the math portion of the SAT are more generous in both the dictator game and the SVO measure. By contrast we find that subjects with a higher GPA are more selfish in the dictator game and more generous according to the SVO. We also find that the consistency of the subjects is related to GPA but we do not find evidence that it is related to either portion of the SAT.
Number of Pages in PDF File: 28
Keywords: dictator game, social value orientation, altruism, cognitive ability
JEL Classification: C91, D64working papers series
Date posted: November 3, 2011 ; Last revised: February 13, 2013
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