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Heterogeneous Preferences and Collective Action

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Type: Working Paper
Author: Ahn, Toh-Kyeong; Ostrom, Elinor; Walker, James M.
Date: 2003
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Series:
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/10535/4697
Sector: Theory
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Subject(s): collective action
social dilemmas
game theory
motivation
heterogeneity
altruism
equity
cooperation
modeling
Workshop
Abstract: "In recent years, scholars have turned to alternative representations of utility to capture motivational heterogeneity across individuals. In the research reported here, we examine two models of heterogeneous utility—linear-altruism and inequity-aversion—in the context of two-person, social dilemma games. Empirical tests are conducted drawing on data from experiments and surveys. We find that the model of inequity-aversion accounts for a substantial proportion of the preference types and behavior that are not explained by the standard model of self-interested preferences. In contrast, the altruism model does not provide a significant increase in explanatory power over the inequity aversion model."

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