Monday, June 14, 2021

Repugnance to high incentives, by Robert Stüber

Here's a paper that seeks to understand why some transactions are permitted when only low incentives are offered, but banned when high incentives are offered. (Donation of human eggs is one example; high payments to participate in experiments is another...)


WZB Berlin March 2021

Abstract: A key feature of markets for repugnant transactions is that certain transactions seem to raise moral concerns only when they involve high monetary incentives. Using a framed field experiment with a representative sample, I show that these preferences exist, and I investigate why people display it. Participants can permit or prevent a third party from being financially compensated for registering as a stem cell and bone marrow donor. I find that a substantial fraction of individuals permit a low payment but prevent high monetary incentives. With the help of experimental treatment variation, I show that their preference to prevent high incentive offers is caused by the desire to protect individuals with high reservation prices. Evidence from a survey experiment with ethic committees emphasizes the practical importance of this finding. These results imply that shortages in the supply of controversial goods are unlikely to be solvable by providing higher incentives. 


Here's a short video presentation of (an early version of) the paper by Dr Stüber.  I understand that he will be moving from the WZP to NYU Abu Dhabi in September.

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