NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH

NBER Working Papers by Pamela Jakiela

Contact and additional information for this authorAll NBER papers and publicationsNBER Working Papers only

Working Papers

May 2014The Distributional Preferences of Americans
with Raymond Fisman, Shachar Kariv: w20145
We measure the distributional preferences of a large, diverse sample of Americans by embedding modified dictator games that vary the relative price of redistribution in the American Life Panel. Subjects' choices are generally consistent with maximizing a (social) utility function. We decompose distributional preferences into two distinct components - fair-mindedness (tradeoffs between oneself and others) and equality-efficiency tradeoffs - by estimating constant elasticity of substitution utility functions at the individual level. Approximately equal numbers of Americans have equality-focused and efficiency-focused distributional preferences. After controlling for individual characteristics, our experimental measures of equality-efficiency tradeoffs predict the political decisions of our ...
How Did Distributional Preferences Change During the Great Recession?
with Raymond Fisman, Shachar Kariv: w20146
We compare behavior in experiments measuring distributional preferences during the "Great Recession" to behavior in identical experiments conducted during the preceding economic boom. Subjects are drawn from a diverse pool of students whose socioeconomic composition is largely held constant by the university, mitigating concerns about differential selection across macroeconomic conditions. Subjects exposed to the recession are more selfish and more willing to sacrifice equality to enhance efficiency. Reproducing recessionary conditions inside the laboratory by confronting subjects with losses has the same impact on distributional preferences, bolstering the interpretation that economic circumstances, rather than other factors, are driving our results.
October 2010You've Earned It: Combining Field and Lab Experiments to Estimate the Impact of Human Capital on Social Preferences
with Edward Miguel, Vera L. te Velde: w16449
We combine data from a field experiment and a laboratory experiment to measure the causal impact of human capital on respect for earned property rights, a component of social preferences with important implications for economic growth and development. We find that higher academic achievement reduces the willingness of young Kenyan women to appropriate others' labor income, and shifts players toward a 50-50 split norm in the dictator game. This study demonstrates that education may have long-run impacts on social preferences, norms and institutions beyond the human capital directly produced. It also shows that randomized field experiments can be successfully combined with laboratory experiment data to measure causal impacts on individual values, norms, and preferences which cannot be readil...

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