Author: Sascha F├╝llbrunn
Affiliation(s): Nijmegen School of Management, Radboud University
Keywords: Social preferences, risk preferences, time preferences, trust game, public goods game
Research question(s): 
Are the preferences elicited using experimental economics methodology stable over time?
Link: OSF Preregistration

Abstract:
The dictum “De gustibus non est disputandum” of Stigler and Becker (1977) shaped economics theory for decades: preferences are stable over time and do not change. Our study tests the stability of elicited preferences in the HBS. 
Such preferences underpin everyday decision-making organised into four categories: a. simple choice, b. choice under uncertainty, c. intertemporal choice, and d. choices with social consequences. The HBS measures such preferences.
Within the HBS universe, we can ask two questions. 1) What shapes preferences, e.g. are the brain’s structure and preferences hard-wired and immutable? 2) How do preferences shape decisions, e.g. do risk preferences explain investment or insurance decisions? 
Therefore, it is important to understand the reliability of the elicited preferences and whether they are stable. In fact, if people only make random choices in these tasks, they would be meaningless. 
Hence, our study tests the stability of these elicited preferences over time. 
Some overview articles consider the stability of preferences in three of the four decision situations mentioned above (b.-d.). Overall, preferences seem stable (see appendix with an overview of articles until 2015). However, the power is often not overwhelming, and most of these studies consider two-time measurements; they simply test for correlation.