preferences for power
In many social contexts the ability to decide or influence someone else’s actions and outcomes is associated with positive externalities for the decision-maker, for example higher compensation for managers or public recognition for politicians. In this study we design and implement a new game, the "Power Game" and demonstrate that individuals enjoy power–the ability to influence outcomes for others– by and of itself. They are willing to pay for power even when it does not provide any positive externalities for the decision-maker in terms of their own payoff. In fact, they are willing to trade a lower payoff for themselves in exchange for power. We show that individuals’ preference for power are different than, and cannot be explained by, their social preferences, such as social welfare preferences, difference aversion, or competitive preferences.