Learning About a Class of Belief-Dependent Preferences Without Information on Beliefs

34 Pages Posted: 18 Sep 2011

See all articles by Charles Bellemare

Charles Bellemare

Université Laval - Département d'Économique; Centre Interuniversitaire sur le Risque, les Politiques Economiques et l'Emploi (CIRPÉE); IZA Institute of Labor Economics

Alexander Sebald

University of Copenhagen - Department of Economics

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Abstract

We show how to bound the effect of belief-dependent preferences on choices in sequential two-player games without information about the (higher-order) beliefs of players. The approach can be applied to a class of belief-dependent preferences which includes reciprocity (Dufwenberg and Kirchsteiger, 2004) and guilt aversion (Battigalli and Dufwenberg, 2007) as special cases. We show how the size of the bounds can be substantially reduced by exploiting a specific invariance property common to preferences in this class. We illustrate our approach by analyzing data from a large scale experiment conducted with a sample of participants randomly drawn from the Dutch population. We find that behavior of players in the experiment is consistent with significant guilt aversion: some groups of the population are willing to pay at least 0.16e to avoid 'letting down' another player by 1e. We also find that our approach produces narrow and thus very informative bounds on the effect of reciprocity in the games we consider. Our bounds suggest the model of reciprocity we consider is not a significant determinant of decisions in our experiment.

Keywords: belief-dependent preferences, guilt aversion, reciprocity, partial identification

JEL Classification: C93, D63, D84

Suggested Citation

Bellemare, Charles and Sebald, Alexander, Learning About a Class of Belief-Dependent Preferences Without Information on Beliefs. IZA Discussion Paper No. 5957, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1929657

Charles Bellemare (Contact Author)

Université Laval - Département d'Économique ( email )

2325 Rue de l'Université
Ste-Foy, Quebec G1K 7P4 G1K 7P4
Canada

Centre Interuniversitaire sur le Risque, les Politiques Economiques et l'Emploi (CIRPÉE)

Pavillon De Sève
Ste-Foy, Quebec G1K 7P4
Canada

IZA Institute of Labor Economics ( email )

P.O. Box 7240
Bonn, D-53072
Germany

Alexander Sebald

University of Copenhagen - Department of Economics ( email )

Øster Farimagsgade 5
Bygning 26
1353 Copenhagen K.
Denmark

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