Working paper

Estimating Social Preferences and Kantian Morality in Strategic Interactions

Ingela Alger, Boris Van Leeuwen, and Jörgen W. Weibull


Recent theoretical work suggests that a form of Kantian morality has evolutionary foundations. To investigate the relative importance of Kantian morality and social preferences, we run laboratory experiments on strategic interaction in social dilemmas. Using a structural model, we estimate social preferences and morality concerns both at the individual level and the aggregate level. We observe considerable heterogeneity in social preferences and Kantian morality. A finite mixture analysis shows that the subject pool is well described as consisting of two types. One exhibits a combination of inequity aversion and Kantian morality, while the other combines spite and Kantian morality.

JEL codes

  • C49: Other
  • C72: Noncooperative Games
  • C9: Design of Experiments
  • C91: Laboratory, Individual Behavior
  • D03: Behavioral Microeconomics • Underlying Principles
  • D84: Expectations • Speculations

See also

Published in

IAST working paper, n. 19-100, November 2019