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Distributional preferences in adolescent peer networks

Peer Reviewed
20 November 2022

Yonas Alem, Martin G. Kocher, Simon Schürz, Fredrik Carlsson, Mikael Lindahl


We study distributional preferences in adolescent peer networks. Using incentivized choices between allocations for themselves and a passive agent, children are classified into efficiency-loving, inequality-loving, inequality-averse, and spiteful types. We find that pairs of students who report a friendship link are more likely to exhibit the same preference type than other students who attend the same school. The relation between types is almost completely driven by inequality-loving and spiteful types. The role of peer networks in explaining distributional preferences goes beyond network composition effects. A low rank in academic performance and a central position within the network relate positively to a higher likelihood of being classified as spiteful. Hence, social hierarchies seem to be correlated with distributional preference types.

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Publication reference
Alem, Y., Kocher, M. G., Schürz, S., Carlsson, F., & Lindahl, M. (2022). Distributional preferences in adolescent peer networks. Experimental Economics. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10683-022-09775-6
Publication | 13 December 2022