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Evidence from an Experiment on Charity to Welfare Recipients: Reciprocity, Altruism and the Empathic Responsiveness Hypothesis

  • Christina M. Fong
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    This article investigates the determinants of generosity in an experiment on charity to real-life welfare recipients. It tests the effects of various measures of unconditional altruism and conditional or reciprocal altruism. The results show strong support for conditional or reciprocal altruism. However, people who are self-reported unconditional altruists make offers that are highly elastic with respect to the apparent worthiness of the recipient. One interpretation of this is that self-reported unconditional altruists have combined desires to help others and to reciprocate; unconditional altruism and reciprocal altruism may not be independent motives. I refer to this combination as "empathic responsiveness". Copyright 2007 The Author(s). Journal compilation Royal Economic Society 2007.

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    File URL: http://www.blackwell-synergy.com/doi/abs/10.1111/j.1468-0297.2007.02076.x
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    Article provided by Royal Economic Society in its journal The Economic Journal.

    Volume (Year): 117 (2007)
    Issue (Month): 522 (07)
    Pages: 1008-1024

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    Handle: RePEc:ecj:econjl:v:117:y:2007:i:522:p:1008-1024
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