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

Thursday 16 March 2017, 1.00PM to 2.00pm

Speaker(s): Matthew Robson

Abstract: Inequality aversion and self-interest are recurrent themes within experimental economics. Presented here are models which incorporate both elements; by explaining behaviour through accounting for heterogeneous preferences and assuming that individuals are not all purely motivated by self-interest or efficiency. Experiments were run in Mbale, Uganda, with a sample of 156; 108 of whom were from the general population, 48 of whom were university students. The incentivised lab-in-the- field experiment was a modified three-person dictator game, run on touch-screen tablets. Decision problems were repeated (54 rounds) to ensure stochastic error modelling could be used to estimate individual level preferences, using the Dirichlet distribution to rationalise noisy behaviour. Oneness, the degree of closeness, is incorporated within a utility function and its effects on distributional decisions are tested. Results show the majority of decisions made (96.45%) were not purely self-interested, with an average proportion of payoffs given to the 'self' of 0.5045. The majority of individuals (79.86%) were classed as `Weighted Prioritarians'. Significant effects were found showing a positive relationship between oneness and sharing.

Inequality aversion and self-interest and Oneness (PDF , 2,598kb)

Location: Economics Staff Room A/EC202

Admission: Staff and PhD Students