The economics of preference heterogeneity
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[S.l.] : [S.n.]
Number of pages
Radboud Universiteit Nijmegen, 18 april 2011
Promotor : Sent, E.-M. Co-promotor : Beugelsdijk, S.
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Economische theorie en economisch beleid
SubjectDistributional Conflicts in a Globalizing World: Consequences for State-Market-Civil Society Arrangements
Preferences are not homogeneous but vary systematically across groups, notably between people from diverse cultural backgrounds. This thesis is on the economics of preference heterogeneity. It reviews the main methods used to give empirical content to differences in preferences and pushes the development of a particular method, which can best be dubbed the experienced preferences approach. This approach involves estimating heterogeneous experienced utility functions, using data on subjective well-being (e.g. self-reported happiness) to proxy for experienced utility. Estimated coefficients—large or small, positive or negative—show how much people like or dislike certain things or situations in terms of the latter’s contribution to their well-being. The thesis applies this method in the study of two long-standing issues in the economics of preference heterogeneity and builds a solid basis for further fruitful applications of the experienced preferences approach.
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