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Inequality Aversion, Self-Interest and Oneness: A Ugandan Lab-in-the-Field Experiment

Matthew Robson ()

Discussion Papers from Department of Economics, University of York

Abstract: Preferences relating to inequality aversion, self-interest and oneness (the closeness of connection to others) are incorporated in a structural model and estimated in order to explain prosocial behaviour. An incentivised lab-in-the-field experiment was run in Mbale, Uganda (n=156), with both general population and student samples. The experiment was a modified three-person dictator game, run on touch-screen tablets. Decision problems were repeated (54 rounds) to ensure individual-level preferences could be estimated; using the Dirichlet distribution to rationalise noisy behaviour. Two within-subject treatments varied if the identity of the ‘recipients’ was anonymous or known. Results find extensive heterogeneity in prosocial behaviour, which is accounted for through individual preference parameters. On average, there is a substantial regard for others with a preference for reducing inequality, rather than increasing efficiency. Oneness is found to have large and significant effects on giving; with distinctions between self-other and between-other trade-offs emerging.

Keywords: Distributional Preferences; Prosocial Behaviour; Experimental Economics; Social Distance; Inequality; Altruism; Social Welfare Function. (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: C72 C91 D63 D64 I31 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2017-10
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-exp
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