The Stability of Social Preferences in a Low-Income Neighborhood
De Oliveira, A. C. M.
Croson, Rachel T. A.
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We investigate whether social preferences are stable across contexts using a field population of low-income Americans. We develop and demonstrate a simplified, visually-based experimental methodology appropriate for this population. We show that choices in a laboratory public goods game predict giving in real donation experiments, as well as self-reported donations and volunteering outside the lab. At the same time, choices vary systematically by individual characteristics and decision context. Thus, our results provide evidence both for an underlying stable social preference and for the role of context in influencing the expression of that preference.
"Funding was provided by the National Science Foundation (SES-0136684, SES-0752855) and the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, Network on the Nature and Origin of Preferences and Norms."