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What's in a name? Racial identity and altruism in post-apartheid South Africa

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  • Wilhelm Gerhard van der Merwe
  • Justine Burns

    ()
    (SALDRU, School of Economics, University of Cape Town)

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    Abstract

    This paper reports the results of an economic experiment which was designed to test the effect of racial identity on generosity in a non-strategic setting. A sample of undergraduate University students was recruited to participate in a Dictator game, where surnames of individuals were revealed to convey information about racial identity. Results indicate that compared to a set of control experiments where participant identity was kept anonymous, revealing racial identity has a significant and positive impact on the size of the offers made. However, while Black participants did not vary their offers based on the racial identity of their partners, White participants were more generous towards White partners than Black partners, exhibiting insider favouritism in their offers.

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    Bibliographic Info

    Paper provided by Southern Africa Labour and Development Research Unit, University of Cape Town in its series SALDRU Working Papers with number 24.

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    Length: 15 pages
    Date of creation: Oct 2008
    Date of revision:
    Handle: RePEc:ldr:wpaper:24

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    1. Frohlich, Norman & Oppenheimer, Joe & Bernard Moore, J., 2001. "Some doubts about measuring self-interest using dictator experiments: the costs of anonymity," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 46(3), pages 271-290, November.
    2. Fershtman, C. & Gneezy, U., 2000. "Discrimination in a Segmented Society: an Experimental Approach," Papers 2000-9, Tel Aviv.
    3. George A. Akerlof, 1997. "Social Distance and Social Decisions," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 65(5), pages 1005-1028, September.
    4. Selten, Reinhard & Ockenfels, Axel, 1998. "An experimental solidarity game," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 34(4), pages 517-539, March.
    5. Cornell, Bradford & Welch, Ivo, 1996. "Culture, Information, and Screening Discrimination," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 104(3), pages 542-71, June.
    6. Forsythe Robert & Horowitz Joel L. & Savin N. E. & Sefton Martin, 1994. "Fairness in Simple Bargaining Experiments," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 6(3), pages 347-369, May.
    7. Eckel, Catherine C. & Grossman, Philip J., 1996. "Altruism in Anonymous Dictator Games," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 16(2), pages 181-191, October.
    8. Bolton, Gary E. & Katok, Elena, 1995. "An experimental test for gender differences in beneficent behavior," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 48(3-4), pages 287-292, June.
    9. Catherine Eckel & Philip Grossman, 2000. "Volunteers and Pseudo-Volunteers: The Effect of Recruitment Method in Dictator Experiments," Experimental Economics, Springer, vol. 3(2), pages 107-120, October.
    10. Sheryl Ball & Catherine Eckel & Philip J. Grossman & William Zame, 2001. "Status In Markets," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 116(1), pages 161-188, February.
    11. Dufwenberg, Martin & Muren, Astri, 2002. "Discrimination by Gender and Social Distance," Research Papers in Economics 2002:2, Stockholm University, Department of Economics.
    12. Holm, Hakan & Engseld, Peter, 2001. "Choosing Bargaining Partners - An experimental study on the impact of information about income and gender," Working Papers 2001:10, Lund University, Department of Economics, revised 30 Jul 2001.
    13. Eckel, Catherine C & Grossman, Philip J, 1998. "Are Women Less Selfish Than Men? Evidence from Dictator Experiments," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 108(448), pages 726-35, May.
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