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On the relation between impulses to help and causes of neediness: An experimental study

  • Buitrago, Gelkha
  • Gueth, Werner
  • Levati, Maria Vittoria

A novel two-person "charity game", related to the "Samaritan's Dilemma" [Buchanan, J.M., 1975. The samaritan's dilemma. In: Phelps, E.S. (Ed.), Altruism, Morality and Economic Theory. Russel Sage Foundation, New York, pp. 71-85], is used to experimentally investigate the relation between helpers' behavior and poor recipients' reaction to aid. We distinguish two treatments differing in whether the causes of neediness are verifiable or not. Helping behavior does not vary significantly between treatments, but is positively correlated with dictator giving, suggesting idiosyncratic attitudes to help. Needy subjects are unaffected by anticipated help, but react optimally to chance.

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Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics (formerly The Journal of Socio-Economics).

Volume (Year): 38 (2009)
Issue (Month): 1 (January)
Pages: 80-88

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Handle: RePEc:eee:soceco:v:38:y:2009:i:1:p:80-88
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