The New Palgrave Dictionary of Economics

2018 Edition
| Editors: Macmillan Publishers Ltd

Social Preferences

  • Jeffrey Carpenter
Reference work entry


Behaviour in a variety of games is inconsistent with the traditional formulation of egoistic decision-makers; however, the observed differences are often systematic and robust. In many cases, people behave as if they value the outcomes accruing to other reference agents. In reaction, behavioural economists have offered and tested a variety of formulations (such as inequality aversion and reciprocity) that capture the social nature of preferences.


Altruism Collective action Dictator game Fairness Free rider problem Gift exchange Inequality aversion Labour markets Psychological games Public good experiments Reciprocity Self-interest Social dilemma Social norms Social preferences Subgame perfection Trust game Ultimatum game 

JEL Classifications

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© Macmillan Publishers Ltd. 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jeffrey Carpenter
    • 1
  1. 1.