Advanced Search
MyIDEAS: Login

On the Probability of Help


Author Info

  • WDA Bryant

    (Department of Economics, Macquarie University)


The experimental and field studies surveyed by Latane and Nida (1981) establish an inverse relationship between the probability that a person is helped and the size of the group of potential helpers. Harrington (2001) attempts to account for this phenomenon using a 'rational choice' model in which agents play Nash strategies. In Harrington's model the probability that anyone helps a person in trouble decreases as the number of potential helpers increases. Also, the probability that a victim receives help is bounded below and away from zero. This second implication of the model is somewhat at variance with the analysis of Hochman and Rogers (1969), Bergstrom (1970), Nakayama (1980) and Arrow (1981) where, if there are two rich people (potential helpers) and one poor person (victim), then 'helping' has the characteristics of a pure public good, with predictable consequences for the equilibrium level of help offered. The principle purpose of this paper is to extend the model of Harrington (2001) to include the Hochman and Rogers-Bergstrom-Nakayama-Arrow result as a special case.

Download Info

If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.
File URL:
File Function: First Version, 2001
Download Restriction: no

Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Macquarie University, Department of Economics in its series Research Papers with number 0108.

as in new window
Length: 10 pages.
Date of creation: Sep 2001
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:mac:wpaper:0108

Contact details of provider:
Postal: Sydney NSW 2109
Web page:
More information through EDIRC

Related research

Keywords: Altruism; Nash equilibrium; free riding; group size;

Find related papers by JEL classification:


No references listed on IDEAS
You can help add them by filling out this form.



This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.


Access and download statistics


When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:mac:wpaper:0108. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Helen Boneham).

If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.

If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.