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Cruel Altruism


  • Jiří Hlaváček
  • Michal Hlaváček


This article shows that the altruism of the donator could have different forms. The specific form of his optimisation criterion significantly influences his decision making concerning the allocation of his resources among recipients. Moreover, even within one chosen criterion we could report sudden changes in strategy of a rational donator. This donator, even if he is so called 'hard altruist' (i.e. subject preferring community interests to his individual interests), he could be forced to make a 'gambit', when he sacrifices one from the subjects supported in favour of survival of the community as a whole. This preferring of whole community to individual interests could lead to liquidation of the least resistant member of the community. This is quite surprising as this member of the community was the most heavily supported before. Altruism could be cruel.

Suggested Citation

  • Jiří Hlaváček & Michal Hlaváček, 2005. "Cruel Altruism," Prague Economic Papers, University of Economics, Prague, vol. 2005(4), pages 363-374.
  • Handle: RePEc:prg:jnlpep:v:2005:y:2005:i:4:id:271:p:363-374

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Rachel M. Friedberg, 2001. "The Impact of Mass Migration on the Israeli Labor Market," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 116(4), pages 1373-1408.
    2. Borjas, George J & Freeman, Richard B & Katz, Lawrence, 1996. "Searching for the Effect of Immigration on the Labor Market," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 86(2), pages 246-251, May.
    3. Withers, Glenn & Pope, David, 1985. "Immigration and Unemployment," The Economic Record, The Economic Society of Australia, vol. 61(173), pages 554-563, June.
    4. Jolley, A N E, 1971. "Immigration and Australia's Post-war Economic Growth," The Economic Record, The Economic Society of Australia, vol. 47(117), pages 47-59, March.
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    More about this item


    altruism; donator and recipient; criteria of donators;

    JEL classification:

    • D00 - Microeconomics - - General - - - General
    • D30 - Microeconomics - - Distribution - - - General


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