No SDES-2016-1
Title Social value orientation and capitalism in societies
Author Shibly Shahrier, Koji Kotani and Makoto Kakinaka
Abstract Cooperation and competition are the core issues in economics and biology since they are claimed to affect evolution for human societies and ecological organization. Therefore, there has been a long-standing debate of whether nature or nurture curves people’s social preference. We hypothesize that the degree of capitalism in societies influences evolution of people’s value orientation, i.e., the degree of competitiveness in societies characterizes people’s social preference. To test this hypothesis, we implemented field experiments of social value orientation and questionnaire surveys with 1000 respondents in the three different fields of Bangladesh: (i) rural, (ii) transitional and (iii) capitalistic societies. The analysis reveals that as society becomes capitalistic, people are likely to be less prosocial. A considerable proportion of “unidentified”people, neither proself nor prosocial, are found in transitional societies, implying a potential existence of unstable states in people’s social preference during a transformation from the rural to the capitalistic. We have also found that having an additional child makes people individualistic, females’ social preferences are more deterministic than males’ ones, and people become more competitive with age and education. These results imply that some important problems such as climate change or sustainability, where “cooperation” rather than “competition” is necessary, shall be more endangered as societies become capitalistic.
Revised version published in PLoS ONE