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Directed Altruism and Enforced Reciprocity in Social Networks

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  • Quoc-Anh Do

    ()
    (School of Economics, Singapore Management University)

  • Stephen Leider

    (Harvard University)

  • Markus M. Mobius

    (Harvard University)

  • Tanya Rosenblat

    (Iowa State University)

Abstract

We conduct online field experiments in large real-world social networks in order to decompose prosocial giving into three components: (1) baseline altruism toward randomly selected strangers, (2) directed altruism that favors friends over random strangers, and (3) giving motivated by the prospect of future interaction. Directed altruism increases giving to friends by 52 percent relative to random strangers, while future interaction effects increase giving by an additional 24 percent when giving is socially efficient. This finding suggests that future interaction affects giving through a repeated game mechanism where agents can be rewarded for granting efficiency enhancing favors. We also find that subjects with higher baseline altruism have friends with higher baseline altruism.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Singapore Management University, School of Economics in its series Working Papers with number 17-2008.

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Length: 28 Pages
Date of creation: Nov 2008
Date of revision:
Publication status: Published in SMU Economics and Statistics Working Paper Series
Handle: RePEc:siu:wpaper:17-2008

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Keywords: modified dictator games; directed altruism; enforced reciprocity; social networks;

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References

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  1. Kovarik, Jaromir & Espinosa Alejos, María Paz & Brañas Garza, Pablo & Jiménez, Natalia & Ponti, Giovanni & Cobo Reyes, Ramón, 2009. "Altruism and Social Integration," IKERLANAK 2009-35, Universidad del País Vasco - Departamento de Fundamentos del Análisis Económico I.
    • Brañas Garza, Pablo & Espinosa Alejos, María Paz & Cobo Reyes, Ramón & Jiménez, Natalia & Ponti, Giovanni, 2006. "Altruism in the (Social) Network," DFAEII Working Papers 2006-04, University of the Basque Country - Department of Foundations of Economic Analysis II.
    • Kovarik, Jaromir & Espinosa Alejos, María Paz & Brañas Garza, Pablo & Jiménez, Natalia & Ponti, Giovanni & Cobo Reyes, Ramón, 2009. "Altruism and Social Integration," DFAEII Working Papers 2009-05, University of the Basque Country - Department of Foundations of Economic Analysis II.
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  8. Stephen Leider & Markus M. Mobius & Tanya Rosenblat & Quoc-Anh Do, 2009. "What Do We Expect from Our Friends?," Microeconomics Working Papers 23053, East Asian Bureau of Economic Research.
  9. Stephen Leider & Markus M. Möbius & Tanya Rosenblat & Quoc-Anh Do, 2009. "Directed Altruism and Enforced Reciprocity in Social Networks," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 124(4), pages 1815-1851, November.
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  11. John List & David Reiley, 2008. "Field experiments," Artefactual Field Experiments 00091, The Field Experiments Website.
  12. James Andreoni & John Miller, 2002. "Giving According to GARP: An Experimental Test of the Consistency of Preferences for Altruism," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 70(2), pages 737-753, March.
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