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Is Altruism Feasible? Interdependent Preferences Provide the Answer

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  • Vicki Knoblauch

    (University of Connecticut)

Abstract

Is it possible to be altruistic in the face of altruism? With a naive definition of altruism, the answer is no. If an altruistic consumer is defined to be one whose preferences over allocations satisfy an appropriate interdependence condition, then the answer is yes. However, altruism in the face of malice is impossible. One of our findings is that if two consumers are mutually altruistic, exactly one of them should adopt selfish preferences over allocations.

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File URL: http://www.econ.uconn.edu/working/2001-04.pdf
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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by University of Connecticut, Department of Economics in its series Working papers with number 2001-04.

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Length: 18 pages
Date of creation: Nov 2001
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:uct:uconnp:2001-04

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Postal: University of Connecticut 341 Mansfield Road, Unit 1063 Storrs, CT 06269-1063
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Web page: http://www.econ.uconn.edu/
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Keywords: altruism; interdependent preferences;

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  1. Andreoni,J. & Miller,J.H., 1999. "Giving according to GARP : an experimental test of the rationality of altruism," Working papers 2, Wisconsin Madison - Social Systems.
  2. Bester, Helmut & Guth, Werner, 1998. "Is altruism evolutionarily stable?," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 34(2), pages 193-209, February.
  3. Georg Kirchsteiger & Ernst Fehr & Arno Riedl, 1993. "Does Fairness Prevent Market Clearing? An Experimental Investigation," ULB Institutional Repository 2013/5927, ULB -- Universite Libre de Bruxelles.
  4. Barro, Robert J, 1974. "Are Government Bonds Net Wealth?," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 82(6), pages 1095-1117, Nov.-Dec..
  5. Kockesen, Levent & Ok, Efe A. & Sethi, Rajiv, 2000. "The Strategic Advantage of Negatively Interdependent Preferences," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 92(2), pages 274-299, June.
  6. Bergstrom, Theodore C, 1999. " Systems of Benevolent Utility Functions," Journal of Public Economic Theory, Association for Public Economic Theory, vol. 1(1), pages 71-100.
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