The Influences of Social Context on the Measurement of Distributional Preferences

University of Zurich, Department of Economics, Working Paper No. 224

26 Pages Posted: 8 Apr 2016

See all articles by Matthias Greiff

Matthias Greiff

Clausthal University of Technology - Department of Economics and Business Administration

Kurt A. Ackermann

ETH Zürich - Department of Humanities, Social and Political Sciences (GESS)

Ryan O. Murphy

University of Zurich - Department of Economics

Date Written: April 2016

Abstract

Different social contexts have been used when measuring distributional preferences. This could be problematic as contextual variance may inadvertently muddle the measurement process. We use a within-subjects design and measure distributional preferences in resource allocation tasks with role certainty, role uncertainty, decomposed games, and matrix games. Results show that, at the aggregate level, role uncertainty and decomposed games lead to higher degrees of prosociality when compared to role certainty. At the individual level, we observe considerable differences in behavior across the social contexts, indicating that the majority of people are sensitive to these different social settings but respond in different ways.

Keywords: Distributional preferences, social preferences, other regarding preferences, Social Value Orientation (SVO), measurement methods, individual differences

JEL Classification: C91, D03, D64

Suggested Citation

Greiff, Matthias and Ackermann, Kurt Alexander and Murphy, Ryan O., The Influences of Social Context on the Measurement of Distributional Preferences (April 2016). University of Zurich, Department of Economics, Working Paper No. 224, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2759817 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2759817

Matthias Greiff (Contact Author)

Clausthal University of Technology - Department of Economics and Business Administration ( email )

Julius-Albert-Str. 2
Clausthal-Zellerfeld D-38678
Germany

Kurt Alexander Ackermann

ETH Zürich - Department of Humanities, Social and Political Sciences (GESS) ( email )

Clausiusstrasse 50
Zürich, 8092
Switzerland
++41 632 91 85 (Phone)

Ryan O. Murphy

University of Zurich - Department of Economics ( email )

Zürich
Switzerland

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