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Moral Costs and Rational Choice: Theory and Experimental Evidence

James Cox (), John List (), Michael Price (), Vjollca Sadiraj () and Anya Samek

No 22234, NBER Working Papers from National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc

Abstract: The literature exploring other regarding behavior sheds important light on interesting social phenomena, yet less attention has been given to how the received results speak to foundational assumptions within economics. Our study synthesizes the empirical evidence, showing that recent work challenges convex preference theory but is largely consistent with rational choice theory. Guided by this understanding, we design a new, more demanding test of a central tenet of economics—the contraction axiom—within a sharing framework. Making use of more than 325 dictators participating in a series of allocation games, we show that sharing choices violate the contraction axiom. We advance a new theory that augments standard models with moral reference points to explain our experimental data. Our theory also organizes the broader sharing patterns in the received literature.

JEL-codes: C9 C93 D01 D03 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2016-05
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-cbe, nep-exp, nep-hpe, nep-pr~ and nep-upt
Note: PE
References: View complete reference list from CitEc
Citations: View citations in EconPapers (10) Track citations by RSS feed

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Related works:
Working Paper: Moral Costs and Rational Choice: Theory and Experimental Evidence (2019) Downloads
Working Paper: Moral Costs and Rational Choice: Theory and Experimental Evidence (2016) Downloads
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