Fairness Concerns and Social Preferences in Rational Choice Models
There are many social interactions in which social actors do not care only about their own outcomes but also about others’ outcomes. That led to the use of concepts such as social preferences or other-regarding preferences, which have spread and received a great deal of attention in the literature during the last decades.
Four types of social preferences have been commonly identified:
- reciprocity, in which one actor reciprocate others’ behavior;
- inequity aversion, in which one actor care not only about their payoffs but also about the distribution of payoffs within the population;
- pure altruism, in which one actor’s welfare increase as others’ welfare increases;
- and spiteful preferences, in which one actor’s choices are motivated by envy.
While several theoretical models of social preferences have been proposed in the literature and a great deal of experimental evidence supporting these models has been produced, there are still some issues that require closer inspection. Firstly, each model seems to explain a particular kind of problems but there is no model that performs well in every situation. Secondly, there is evidence that not every actor behaves according to social preferences models and even those who seem to be oriented by social preferences do not follow them in every situation. Thirdly, the implications of social preferences models for a rational choice-based theory of justice have not been fully explored. This session welcomes theoretical, experimental and empirical (either quantitative or qualitative) contributions focusing on social preferences.