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Alcohol, generosity and empathy

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  • Fielding, David
  • Knowles, Stephen
  • Robertson, Kirsten

Abstract

Existing studies suggest that chronic alcohol dependency (or recovery from alcohol dependency) is associated with lower levels of empathy and generosity. We present results from a charitable donation experiment that was designed to test for associations with moderate variation in the level of alcohol consumption rather than with the incidence of chronic dependency. We find that higher levels of alcohol consumption (and also higher levels of alcohol expenditure) are associated with significantly less generosity. However, there is no significant association between alcohol consumption / expenditure and empathy (as measured by the Interpersonal Reactivity Index) or between alcohol consumption / expenditure and materialism (as measured by the Material Values Scale). This suggests that the relationship between alcohol expenditure and generosity may be mediated through some other channel.

Suggested Citation

  • Fielding, David & Knowles, Stephen & Robertson, Kirsten, 2018. "Alcohol, generosity and empathy," Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics (formerly The Journal of Socio-Economics), Elsevier, vol. 76(C), pages 28-39.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:soceco:v:76:y:2018:i:c:p:28-39
    DOI: 10.1016/j.socec.2018.07.005
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Alcohol; Generosity; Empathy; Dictator game;

    JEL classification:

    • D64 - Microeconomics - - Welfare Economics - - - Altruism; Philanthropy; Intergenerational Transfers
    • I19 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Other

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