We experimentally test in a developing country whether people prefer a situation where individual and social interests coincide, a situation promoting equality or another one promoting a better relative position. We also investigate whether incentive compatible choices are consistent with results obtained by hypothetical surveys and whether results remain robust when higher stakes are considered. Our results show when stakes are low, a similar proportion of individuals (about 40%) choose the option that maximizes self-interest and social good and the option that promotes equality. Our findings suggest that hypothetical surveys may lead individuals to overestimate positional concerns and to be insensitive to stakes. In presence of higher stakes, egalitarian concerns prevail in incentive compatible experiments.
Efficiency, equality, positionality: what do people maximize? Experimental vs. hypothetical evidence from Tunisia
8 April 2015