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

Thursday 8 March 2018, 1.00PM to 2.00pm

Speaker(s): Matthew Robson (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.

JEL Classiļ¬cation: C72, C91, D63, D64, I31.

Location: A/EC202 Economics Staff Room

Admission: Staff and PhD Students