Risk Tolerance, Self-Interest, and Social Preferences
47 Pages Posted: 7 Jan 2011
Date Written: January 1, 2009
We use an experimental method to investigate whether systematic relationships exist across distinct aspects of individual preferences: risk aversion in monetary outcomes, altruism in a two-person context, and social preferences in a larger group context. Individual preferences across these three contexts are measured, and there is no possibility for risk sharing, wealth effects, or updating expectations of the population choices. We find that social preferences are related to demographic variables, including years of education, gender, and age. Perhaps most importantly, self allocation in a two-person dictator game is related to social preferences in a group context. Participants who are more generous in a dictator game are more likely to vote against their self-interest in a group decision-making task which we interpret to be expressions of social preferences.
Keywords: equity, social preferences, optimal taxation
JEL Classification: C91, C92, D63, H21
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