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Correlates of Social Value Orientation: Evidence from a Large Sample of the UK Population

Peter Dolton and Richard Tol ()
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Peter Dolton: Department of Economics, University of Sussex, Brighton, UK

Working Paper Series from Department of Economics, University of Sussex Business School

Abstract: We are the first to measure social value orientation in large survey, representative of the UK population. The ring measure passes tests for ecological validity, concurrent validity, and, less convincingly, internal validity. More than half of our respondents heed the welfare of others, a third is selfish. Respondents are more altruistic towards the young and the old, and towards women. Women are more altruistic, wealthier people less. People who have children or grew up with younger siblings are more altruistic, Muslims and Na’vi less. Professionals, managers, administrators and machine operators are less altruistic, students more. There is weaker evidence that left-handers, people further West, Buddhists and non- Whites are less altruistic. Effect sizes are small. That is, other-regarding preferences are either largely idiosyncratic or explained by factors we did not observe. Preference for a richer but more unequal society is highly correlated with the ring measure for social value orientation. More altruistic respondents want the government to spend more on secondary education and less on pensions, and argue for a higher carbon tax on transport fuels. There is no relationship between altruism and desired public spending on primary education, higher education, or health care.

Keywords: social value orientation; demographic correlates (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: D64 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-soc
Date: 2019-01
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Persistent link: https://EconPapers.repec.org/RePEc:sus:susewp:0119

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