New York University Abu Dhabi
Social Science Division
P.O. Box 129 188
Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates
Institutional Affiliation: New York University Abu Dhabi
NBER Working Papers and Publications
|June 2020||Predicting Social Tipping and Norm Change in Controlled Experiments|
with James Andreoni, Simon Siegenthaler: w27310
The ability to predict when societies will replace one social norm for another can have significant implications for welfare, especially when norms are detrimental. A popular theory poses that the pressure to conform to social norms creates tipping thresholds which, once passed, propel societies toward an alternative state. Predicting when societies will reach a tipping threshold, however, has been a major challenge due to the lack of experimental data for evaluating competing models. We present evidence from a large-scale lab experiment designed to test the theoretical predictions of a threshold model for social tipping. In our setting, societal preferences change gradually, forcing individuals to weigh the benefit from deviating from the norm against the cost from not conforming to the b...
|March 2017||Are the Rich More Selfish than the Poor, or Do They Just Have More Money? A Natural Field Experiment|
with James Andreoni, Jan Stoop: w23229
The growing concentration of resources among the rich has re-ignited a discussion about whether the rich are more selfish than others. While many recent studies show the rich behaving less pro-socially, endogeneity and selection problems prevent safe inferences about differences in social preferences. We present new evidence from a natural field experiment in which we “misdeliver” envelopes to rich and poor households in a Dutch city, varying their contents to identify motives for returning them. Our raw data indicate the rich behave more pro-socially. Controlling for pressures associated with poverty and the marginal utility of money, however, we find no difference in social preferences. The primary distinction between rich and poor is simply that the rich have more money.