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Social EconomicsCurrent and Emerging Avenues$
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Joan Costa-Font and Mario Macis

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780262035651

Published to MIT Press Scholarship Online: September 2017

DOI: 10.7551/mitpress/9780262035651.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM MIT PRESS SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.mitpress.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright The MIT Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in MITSO for personal use.date: 26 September 2021

Social Preferences, Public Policy, and Gender

Social Preferences, Public Policy, and Gender

Chapter:
(p.13) 2 Social Preferences, Public Policy, and Gender
Source:
Social Economics
Author(s):

Philipp Zahn

Evguenia Winschel

Publisher:
The MIT Press
DOI:10.7551/mitpress/9780262035651.003.0002

In most laboratory experiments concerning prosocial behavior subjects are fully informed how their decision influences the payoff of other players. Outside the laboratory, for instance when voting for a policy reform proposal, individuals typically have to decide without such detailed knowledge. To assess the effect of information asymmetries on prosocial behavior, we conduct a laboratory experiment with a simple non-strategic interaction. A dictator has only limited knowledge about the benefits his prosocial action generates for a recipient. We observe subjects with heterogenous social preferences, in particular inequalityaverse and efficiency-concerned individuals. While under symmetric information only individuals with the same type of preferences transfer, under asymmetric information different types transfer at the same time. As a consequence and the main finding of our experiment, uninformed dictators behave more prosocially than informed dictators. In an ex-post analysis of our experiment we also find that the differences in behavior under symmetric information are mostly driven by gender: women tend to be more inequality-averse, men tend to be more efficiency-concerned. Yet, both transfer under asymmetric information.

Keywords:   asymmetric information, prosocial behaviour, efficiency concern, inequality, aversion, dictator game

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