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

See all articles by Angela C. M. de Oliveira

Angela C. M. de Oliveira

University of Massachusetts Amherst

Rachel T. A. Croson

Michigan State University

Catherine C. Eckel

Texas A&M University

Date Written: January 26, 2009

Abstract

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

de Oliveira, Angela C. M. and Croson, Rachel T. A. and Eckel, Catherine C., Are Preferences Stable Across Domains? An Experimental Investigation of Social Preferences in the Field (January 26, 2009). Southern Economic Journal, Vol. 79, No. 1, 2012. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1883767 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1883767

Angela C. M. De Oliveira

University of Massachusetts Amherst ( email )

Department of Operations and Information Managemen
Amherst, MA 01003
United States

HOME PAGE: http://www.umass.edu/resec/faculty/deoliveira/index.shtml

Rachel T. A. Croson

Michigan State University ( email )

East Lansing, MI 48824
United States

Catherine C. Eckel (Contact Author)

Texas A&M University ( email )

5201 University Blvd.
College Station, TX 77843-4228
United States

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