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Conspicuous generosity

Author

Listed:
  • Ellingsen, Tore
  • Johannesson, Magnus

Abstract

We develop a simple model of generous behavior. It is based on the premise that some people are generous, but everyone wants to appear generous--especially in the eyes of other generous people. Although non-monetary donations are always inefficient, they frequently occur in equilibrium because they facilitate signaling. The model helps to explain the prevalence of volunteering, the nature of Christmas gifts, and the taboo against paying cash in return for friendly favors. Finally, and perhaps most notably, the model explains why it is so common to ask for non-monetary favors and so uncommon to ask for money.

Suggested Citation

  • Ellingsen, Tore & Johannesson, Magnus, 2011. "Conspicuous generosity," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 95(9-10), pages 1131-1143, October.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:pubeco:v:95:y:2011:i:9-10:p:1131-1143
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    Cited by:

    1. Christiane Bradler & Robert Dur & Susanne Neckermann & Arjan Non, 2016. "Employee Recognition and Performance: A Field Experiment," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 62(11), pages 3085-3099, November.
    2. repec:kap:expeco:v:20:y:2017:i:2:d:10.1007_s10683-016-9485-0 is not listed on IDEAS
    3. Yann Algan & Yochai Benkler & Mayo Fuster Morell & Jerome Hergueux, 2013. "Cooperation in Peer-Production Economy: Experimental Evidence from Wikipedia," Sciences Po publications info:hdl:2441/5ulf84sluc9, Sciences Po.
    4. Bracha, Anat & Vesterlund, Lise, 2013. "How low can you go? Charity reporting when donations signal income and generosity," Working Papers 13-11, Federal Reserve Bank of Boston.
    5. Cartwright, Edward & Patel, Amrish, 2013. "How category reporting can improve fundraising," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 87(C), pages 73-90.
    6. Kriss, Peter H. & Weber, Roberto A. & Xiao, Erte, 2016. "Turning a blind eye, but not the other cheek: On the robustness of costly punishment," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 128(C), pages 159-177.
    7. Luca Zarri, 2013. "Altruism," Chapters,in: Handbook on the Economics of Reciprocity and Social Enterprise, chapter 1, pages 9-19 Edward Elgar Publishing.
    8. Laura Birg & Anna Goeddeke, 2016. "Christmas Economics—A Sleigh Ride," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 54(4), pages 1980-1984, October.
    9. Tonin, Mirco & Vlassopoulos, Michael, 2013. "Experimental evidence of self-image concerns as motivation for giving," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 90(C), pages 19-27.
    10. Khadjavi, Menusch & Lange, Andreas & Nicklisch, Andreas, 2014. "The Social Value of Transparency and Accountability: Experimental Evidence from Asymmetric Public Good Games," Annual Conference 2014 (Hamburg): Evidence-based Economic Policy 100512, Verein für Socialpolitik / German Economic Association.
    11. Michel André Maréchal & Christian Thöni, 2016. "Hidden Persuaders: Do Small Gifts Lubricate Business Negotiations?," CESifo Working Paper Series 5888, CESifo Group Munich.
    12. Rotemberg, Julio J., 2014. "Charitable giving when altruism and similarity are linked," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 114(C), pages 36-49.
    13. repec:eee:eecrev:v:97:y:2017:i:c:p:72-86 is not listed on IDEAS
    14. repec:inn:wpaper:2014-31 is not listed on IDEAS
    15. repec:kap:expeco:v:21:y:2018:i:1:d:10.1007_s10683-017-9536-1 is not listed on IDEAS
    16. Gächter, Simon & Gerhards, Leonie & Nosenzo, Daniele, 2017. "The importance of peers for compliance with norms of fair sharing," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 97(C), pages 72-86.
    17. Mirco Tonin & Michael Vlassopoulos, 2014. "An experimental investigation of intrinsic motivations for giving," Theory and Decision, Springer, vol. 76(1), pages 47-67, January.
    18. Michael Kirchler & Stefan Palan, 2018. "Immaterial and monetary gifts in economic transactions: evidence from the field," Experimental Economics, Springer;Economic Science Association, vol. 21(1), pages 205-230, March.
    19. Xiaofei Pan & Daniel Houser, 2017. "Social approval, competition and cooperation," Experimental Economics, Springer;Economic Science Association, vol. 20(2), pages 309-332, June.
    20. repec:eee:gamebe:v:104:y:2017:i:c:p:24-42 is not listed on IDEAS
    21. Shih-Ying Wu, 2014. "Does charitable gambling crowd out charitable donations? Using matching to analyze a policy reform," International Tax and Public Finance, Springer;International Institute of Public Finance, vol. 21(6), pages 975-996, December.
    22. Ghosh, Suman & Shankar, Kameshwari, 2013. "Red, white and pink: Linking public good contributions to private good sales," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 88(C), pages 96-108.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Altruism Non-monetary gifts Volunteering;

    JEL classification:

    • A13 - General Economics and Teaching - - General Economics - - - Relation of Economics to Social Values
    • J20 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - General

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