Pronoun Drop Language and Social Preferences: Experimental Evidence from Japan
Department of Economics
Wednesday, November 14, 2018
Taylor-Hibbard Seminar Room (Rm103)
12:00 pm-1:30 pm
We join a growing body of literature in behavioral economics suggesting that the structure of language exerts an influence on people’s thoughts and decisions. We test if dropping the first-person pronoun “I” affects social preferences in a dictator game-like setting. We conduct an online randomized and incentivized experiment with a socially representative sample of 2,000 Japanese respondents and estimate the causal effect of pronoun dropping on social preferences. We find that pronoun dropping lets our respondents become less pro-social. We discuss potential mechanisms driving the result with data from a follow-up survey.