Measuring Social Preferences on Amazon Mechanical Turk

Höglinger, Marc; Wehrli, Stefan (2017). Measuring Social Preferences on Amazon Mechanical Turk. In: Jann, Ben; Przepiorka, Wojtek (eds.) Social dilemmas, institutions and the evolution of cooperation (pp. 527-546). Oldenbourg: De Gruyter

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Social preferences are receiving increased attention in the social sciences, especially in behavioral economics and social psychology. From this arises the need to measure individuals’ social preferences in both the laborato-ry and in surveys of the broader population. The recently proposed SVO slider measure (Murphy et al. 2011) is supposed to be feasible for laboratory as well as for survey research. Our aim is to evaluate this measure using an online survey distributed on Amazon Mechanical Turk (MTurk). We compare the elicited social preferences on MTurk to those found in laboratory settings, look at sociodemographic variation in measured social preferences and evaluate the measure’s test-retest reliability. In addition, we investigate how the standard dictator game performs as an alternative (and shorter) measure of prosocial preferences. Finally, we explore the correlation of these two incentivized measures with established survey items on self-reported prosocial behavior. Results show that social preferences elicited with the SVO-Slider on MTurk have a similar distribution to those found in la-boratory settings. Also, the SVO slider turns out to have a high test-retest reliability (Pearson’s r = 0.79). Howev-er, the SVO measure correlates only weakly with self-reported prosocial behavior items but, interestingly, con-siderably with the survey response time.

Item Type:

Book Section (Book Chapter)


03 Faculty of Business, Economics and Social Sciences > Social Sciences > Institute of Sociology

UniBE Contributor:

Höglinger, Marc and Wehrli, Stefan


300 Social sciences, sociology & anthropology




De Gruyter




Marc Höglinger

Date Deposited:

20 Jul 2017 17:25

Last Modified:

17 Aug 2020 09:18


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