Distributional Preferences in Adolescent Peer Networks

EfD Discussion Paper
1 March 2022

Simon Schürz, Yonas Alem, Martin G. Kocher, 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.

Publication reference
MS 1283 DP 22-05
Publication | 30 March 2022