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Modeling Altruism and Spitefulness in Experiment

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  • David K. Levine

    (UCLA)

Abstract

We examine a simple theory of altruism in which players' payoffs are linear in their own monetary income and their opponents. The weight on the opponent's income is private information and varies in the population, depending, moreover, on what the opponent's coefficient is believed to be. Using results of ultimatum experiments and the final round of a centipede experiment, we are able to pin down relatively accurately what the distribution of altruism (and spite) in the population is. This distribution is then used with a reasonable degree of success to explain the results of the earlier rounds of centipede and the results of some public goods contribution games. In addition, we show that in a market game where the theory of selfish players does quite well, the theory of altruism makes exactly the same predictions as the theory of selfish players. (Copyright: Elsevier)

Suggested Citation

  • David K. Levine, 1998. "Modeling Altruism and Spitefulness in Experiment," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 1(3), pages 593-622, July.
  • Handle: RePEc:red:issued:v:1:y:1998:i:3:p:593-622
    DOI: 10.1006/redy.1998.0023
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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • C70 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Game Theory and Bargaining Theory - - - General
    • C72 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Game Theory and Bargaining Theory - - - Noncooperative Games
    • D90 - Microeconomics - - Micro-Based Behavioral Economics - - - General
    • D92 - Microeconomics - - Micro-Based Behavioral Economics - - - Intertemporal Firm Choice, Investment, Capacity, and Financing

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