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Strategic Ethics: Altruism without the Other-Regarding Confound

Author

Listed:
  • Giuseppe Attanasi
  • Kene Boun My
  • Nikolaos Georgantzís
  • Miguel Ginés

Abstract

In a two-stage investment-effort game, we model altruistic investment in another agent?s capacity to benefit from synergies between the two agents? efforts. We conduct the theoretical analysis of the game by assuming that agents who invest in others have no direct utility from their giving behavior, i.e., without considering other-regarding preferences.?Results of a laboratory experiment confirm our behavioral prediction that, for a low enough investment cost, subjects coordinate on a positive complementarity-building investment, which in turn boosts their effort in the second stage.?The latter increases in both own and others? complementarity-building investment, as predicted by our model.?All this holds independently of subjects? risk and inequity aversion.

Suggested Citation

  • Giuseppe Attanasi & Kene Boun My & Nikolaos Georgantzís & Miguel Ginés, 2019. "Strategic Ethics: Altruism without the Other-Regarding Confound," Revue économique, Presses de Sciences-Po, vol. 70(6), pages 967-998.
  • Handle: RePEc:cai:recosp:reco_706_0967
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Keywords

    complementarity-building investment; strategic complementarities; altruism; inequity aversion; risk aversion;

    JEL classification:

    • C72 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Game Theory and Bargaining Theory - - - Noncooperative Games
    • C73 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Game Theory and Bargaining Theory - - - Stochastic and Dynamic Games; Evolutionary Games
    • C91 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments - - - Laboratory, Individual Behavior
    • D64 - Microeconomics - - Welfare Economics - - - Altruism; Philanthropy; Intergenerational Transfers

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