Small-world conservatives and rigid liberals: Attitudes towards sharing in self-proclaimed left and right

Kaj M. Thomsson, Alexander Vostroknutov*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

13 Citations (Web of Science)


We experimentally explore the way political preferences shape giving behavior. We find no difference in average giving between the left and the right in a dictator game environment. However, we find the reasons for giving to be different. Right-leaning individuals give according to a norm-dependent utility that takes into account the beliefs of the receiver. The behavior of left-leaning individuals is not shaped by such an interaction between norms and beliefs. We conclude that right-wingers choose in accordance with a “small world” view, where giving is shaped by social interaction, while left-wingers appear rigid in their reaction to social context.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)181-192
JournalJournal of Economic Behavior & Organization
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2017


  • Experimental economics
  • Social norms
  • Liberals
  • Conservatives
  • Sharing

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