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Generosity and guilt: The role of beliefs and moral standards of others

Listed author(s):
  • Hauge, Karen Evelyn

Why are people generous? One reason may be to avoid feeling guilt – in terms of failing to meet others’ expectations or in terms of failing to meet others’ moral standards. The present article reports an experiment using the ‘dictator game’ while manipulating the dictators’ beliefs about the receivers’ expectations and moral standards. The results indicate that generosity is indeed driven by guilt-aversion: Dictators are more generous when the receiver expects more, and also when the receiver considers that dictators should, morally speaking, give more. If dictators were motivated by pure altruism or equity concerns, the receiver’s expectations or moral beliefs should not matter.

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File URL: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0167487016000386
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Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Journal of Economic Psychology.

Volume (Year): 54 (2016)
Issue (Month): C ()
Pages: 35-43

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Handle: RePEc:eee:joepsy:v:54:y:2016:i:c:p:35-43
DOI: 10.1016/j.joep.2016.03.001
Contact details of provider: Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/joep

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