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Motives for sharing in social networks

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  • Ligon, Ethan
  • Schechter, Laura

Abstract

What motivates people in rural villages to share? We first elicit a baseline level of sharing using a standard, anonymous dictator game. Then using variants of the dictator game that allow for either revealing the dictator's identity or allowing the dictator to choose the recipient, we attribute variation in sharing to three different motives. The first of these, directed altruism, is related to preferences, while the remaining two are incentive-related (sanctions and reciprocity). We observe high average levels of sharing in our baseline treatment, while variation across individuals depends importantly on the incentive-related motives. Finally, variation in measured reciprocity within the experiment predicts observed ‘real-world’ gift-giving, while other motives measured in the experiment do not predict behavior outside the experiment.

Suggested Citation

  • Ligon, Ethan & Schechter, Laura, 2012. "Motives for sharing in social networks," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 99(1), pages 13-26.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:deveco:v:99:y:2012:i:1:p:13-26
    DOI: 10.1016/j.jdeveco.2011.12.002
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Risk-sharing; Sharing; Altruism; Sanctions; Reciprocity;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • C92 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments - - - Laboratory, Group Behavior
    • C93 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments - - - Field Experiments
    • D03 - Microeconomics - - General - - - Behavioral Microeconomics: Underlying Principles
    • D64 - Microeconomics - - Welfare Economics - - - Altruism; Philanthropy; Intergenerational Transfers
    • D85 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Network Formation
    • O17 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Formal and Informal Sectors; Shadow Economy; Institutional Arrangements

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