Social Theory and Practice

Volume 47, Issue 2, April 2021

Elias L. KhalilOrcid-ID, Alain MarcianoOrcid-ID
Pages 265-298

Other-Regarding Preferences
The Poverty of the Self/Other Dichotomy

The category “other-regarding preferences” is a catch-all phrase based on a self/other dichotomy. While the self/other might be useful when the motive is self-interest or altruism, it fails when the motive involves bonding. This article identifies three motives that involve bonding: i) the preferences regarding friendship and community; ii) the preferences that amalgamate communal bonding with self-interest; and iii) the preferences for distinction and status. These three types of preferences unify the self and other—usually aided by ceremonies of gift exchange and celebratory prizes. This article offers a more complete taxonomy of preferences and, corollary, structures of exchange.