Social Preferences and Social Curiosity

Produced by: 
Available from: 
July 2018
Paper author(s): 
Weiwei Tasch
Daniel Houser
Topic: 
Poverty - Inequality - Aid Effectiveness
Year: 
2018

Over the last two decades social preferences have been implicated in a wide variety of key economic behaviors. Here we investigate connections between social preferences and the demand for information about others’ economic decisions and outcomes, which we denote “social curiosity.” Our analysis is within the context of the inequality aversion model of Fehr and Schmidt (1999). Using data from laboratory experiments with sequential public goods games, we estimate social preferences at the individual level, and then correlate social preferences with one’s willingness to pay to make visible others’ contribution decisions. Our investigation enables us to shed light on how costs to knowing others’ economic decisions and outcomes impact decisions among people with different social preferences, and in particular the extent to which such costs impact the willingness for groups to cooperate.

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