Are Preferences Stable Across Domains? An Experimental Investigation of Social Preferences in the Field
30 Pages Posted: 13 Jul 2011 Last revised: 13 Jun 2014
Date Written: January 26, 2009
Our research investigates whether social preferences are stable across contexts in the field. We build a unique data set by recruiting participants from a low-income urban neighborhood to participate in a series of laboratory experiments. Their decisions are used to demonstrate the stability of cooperative actions across multiple decision contexts. We show that choices in a laboratory VCM predict giving in donation experiments, as well as self-reported donations and volunteering outside the lab. These results have important implications for modeling a general preference for cooperation, measurable in the lab and in the field, and for public policy regarding the voluntary provision of public goods.
Keywords: Public Goods, Field Experiment, Preference Stability, Social Preferences
JEL Classification: H41, C93, D01, Z13
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation