• Social preferences in a common-pool resource dilemma

      Raines, Richard L.; Little, Joseph; Reynolds, Douglas; Baek, Jungho (2014-08)
      The simplifying assumption of rational self-interest is a common one in the social sciences, however it may not always be entirely realistic. People can also adopt a variety of alternative social preferences that place weight on both private and group outcomes. Using experimental methods from economics and psychology, this paper empirically estimates these different "social value orientations" (SVOs), ranging continuously from relatively proself social preferences (competition and individualism) to relatively prosocial (altruism and cooperation). This measure is then applied to a common-pool resource (CPR) experiment to test if social preferences can be used to predict strategic harvesting decisions or participation in a peer-enforced regulatory institution. I find that perfect self-interest is one of many consistent forms of social preference, and that prosocial (proself) preferences successfully predict lower (higher) rates of resource extraction. Social preferences can also be used to predict regulatory participation, but the long-run relationship is less clear.