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Motivations behind prosocial behavior: Evidence from the Philippines

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  • Kuroishi, Yusuke
  • Sawada, Yasuyuki

Abstract

What are the motivations behind seemingly prosocial behavior? Does altruism play a key role especially after a disaster? We address these questions by combining two datasets from a Philippine village affected by strong floods in 2012: Satellite-based natural experimental data on damage caused by a natural hazard; and lab-in-the-field experimental data collected by incentivized dictator games. Lab experiments were conducted twice in 2014 and 2018, enabling us to explore temporal as well as medium-term impacts of a disaster. We build a simple theory that allows us to interpret empirical findings using data from a dictator game. Three main findings emerge from our analysis. First, on average, senders in our dictator game transfer more money to a person affected by disaster losses than do those who face no loss. This finding empirically supports the model of pure altruism, especially in the aftermath of a disaster. However, this pattern decays over time, reflecting erosion of altruism in non-disaster environments. Second, the results on own damages are consistent with the theoretical prediction of pure altruism as well as warm-glow giving. Comparisons of the results using data from two waves in 2014 and 2018, show overall erosion of altruism and warm-glow. Finally, as a byproduct, our estimation result is consistent with the prior literature, specifically the zero prudence coefficient or the negligible third derivative (NTD) in utility function under the additive separability assumption.

Suggested Citation

  • Kuroishi, Yusuke & Sawada, Yasuyuki, 2019. "Motivations behind prosocial behavior: Evidence from the Philippines," Journal of Asian Economics, Elsevier, vol. 64(C), pages 1-1.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:asieco:v:64:y:2019:i:c:3
    DOI: 10.1016/j.asieco.2019.06.003
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Disaster; Altruism; Warm glow; Dictator game; Natural experiment;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • C93 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments - - - Field Experiments
    • D81 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Criteria for Decision-Making under Risk and Uncertainty
    • O12 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Microeconomic Analyses of Economic Development

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