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Personal identity: a theoretical and experimental analysis

  • Fernando Aguiar
  • Pablo Branas-Garza
  • Maria Paz Espinosa
  • Luis Miller

This paper aims to analyze the role of personal identity in altruism. To this end, it starts by reviewing critically the growing literature on economics and identity. Considering the ambiguities that the concept of social identity poses, our proposal focuses on the concept of personal identity. A formal model to study how personal identity enters in individuals' utility function when facing a dictator game decision is then presented. Finally, this 'identity-based' utility function is studied experimentally. The experiment allows us to study the main parameters of the model, suggesting that we should move with caution when attributing identities to individuals.

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Article provided by Taylor & Francis Journals in its journal Journal of Economic Methodology.

Volume (Year): 17 (2010)
Issue (Month): 3 ()
Pages: 261-275

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Handle: RePEc:taf:jecmet:v:17:y:2010:i:3:p:261-275
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