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The Empirical Analysis of Transfer Motives

In: Handbook of the Economics of Giving, Altruism and Reciprocity

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  • Schokkaert, Erik

Abstract

The empirical economic literature covers many different forms of pro-social behaviour going from anonymous charitable contributions to caring for an ageing parent or buying Christmas gifts. The chapter focuses on the meta-questions concerning the motivations underlying this behaviour. While the "public goods"-model of altruism has played a pivotal role in the economic work, the discussion in the chapter is structured around a simple list of motivations, derived from the psychological literature. Altruism (or empathy) is only one of the many motivations leading to voluntary transfers. Transfers may also follow from a feeling of duty or because the donor wants to obey social norms. They may be part of reciprocal arrangements, which finally are in the self-interest of all the parties involved. They may reflect pure materialistic egoism or a desire to gain social prestige. The survey of the empirical literature makes a distinction between one-way transfers where there is no real social interaction between the donor and the recipient and two-way transfers, i.e. interpersonal gifts that take place in a non-anonymous setting. The former refer to contributions of money and time to charities, the latter refer to interhousehold and intrafamily transfers. It is argued that the simple oppositions between "pure altruism" and "warm glow" or between "altruism" and "exchange" are insufficient, and that we should more explicitly think about how to distinguish the different "warm glow" or "exchange"-interpretations from one another. Traditional economic methods of "indirect testing" for motivational differences will probably be insufficient for this task. A better insight into the different motivations for pro-social behaviour is important for its own sake. It is also necessary for understanding the consequences of government intervention (the crowding-out effect) or the behaviour of charities.

Suggested Citation

  • Schokkaert, Erik, 2006. "The Empirical Analysis of Transfer Motives," Handbook on the Economics of Giving, Reciprocity and Altruism, in: S. Kolm & Jean Mercier Ythier (ed.), Handbook of the Economics of Giving, Altruism and Reciprocity, edition 1, volume 1, chapter 2, pages 127-181, Elsevier.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:givchp:1-02
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Brown, Sarah & Harris, Mark N. & Taylor, Karl, 2012. "Modelling charitable donations to an unexpected natural disaster: Evidence from the U.S. Panel Study of Income Dynamics," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 84(1), pages 97-110.
    2. Hannes Koppel & Günther G. Schulze, 2008. "Inefficient but Effective? A field experiment on the effectiveness of direct and indirect transfer mechanisms," MAGKS Papers on Economics 200802, Philipps-Universität Marburg, Faculty of Business Administration and Economics, Department of Economics (Volkswirtschaftliche Abteilung).
    3. Olena Nizalova, 2012. "The Wage Elasticity of Informal Care Supply: Evidence from the Health and Retirement Study," Southern Economic Journal, Southern Economic Association, vol. 79(2), pages 350-366, October.
    4. Helms, Sara E. & Thornton, Jeremy P., 2012. "The influence of religiosity on charitable behavior: A COPPS investigation," Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics (formerly The Journal of Socio-Economics), Elsevier, vol. 41(4), pages 373-383.
    5. Matthieu CLEMENT, 2007. "The relation between private transfers and household income on looking at altruism, exchange and risk-sharing hypotheses. An empirical analysis applied to Russia (In French)," Cahiers du GREThA 2007-08, Groupe de Recherche en Economie Théorique et Appliquée (GREThA).
    6. Akbaş, Merve & Ariely, Dan & Yuksel, Sevgi, 2019. "When is inequality fair? An experiment on the effect of procedural justice and agency," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 161(C), pages 114-127.
    7. repec:aia:aiaswp:144 is not listed on IDEAS
    8. Kwak, Sungil, 2011. "The Impact of Taxes on Charitable Giving: Empirical Evidence from the Korean Labor and Income Panel Study," MPRA Paper 36845, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    9. Hannes Koppel & Günther Schulze, 2013. "The Importance of the Indirect Transfer Mechanism for Consumer Willingness to Pay for Fair Trade Products—Evidence from a Natural Field Experiment," Journal of Consumer Policy, Springer, vol. 36(4), pages 369-387, December.
    10. Hungerman, Daniel M., 2014. "Public goods, hidden income, and tax evasion: Some nonstandard results from the warm-glow model," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 109(C), pages 188-202.
    11. repec:aia:ginidp:dp33 is not listed on IDEAS
    12. Takasaki, Yoshito, 2017. "Post-disaster Informal Risk Sharing Against Illness," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 94(C), pages 64-74.
    13. Hannes Koppel & Günther G. Schulze, 2009. "On the Channels of Pro-Social Behavior Evidence from a natural field experiment," Jena Economic Research Papers 2009-102, Friedrich-Schiller-University Jena.
    14. Marii Paskov & Caroline Dewilde, 2012. "GINI DP 33: Income Inequality and Solidarity in Europe," GINI Discussion Papers 33, AIAS, Amsterdam Institute for Advanced Labour Studies.
    15. Bischoff, Ivo & Krauskopf, Thomas, 2015. "Warm glow of giving collectively – An experimental study," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 51(C), pages 210-218.
    16. Alessandra Casarico & Luca Micheletto & Alessandro Sommacal, 2015. "Intergenerational transmission of skills during childhood and optimal public policy," Journal of Population Economics, Springer;European Society for Population Economics, vol. 28(2), pages 353-372, April.
    17. Säve-Söderbergh, Jenny, 2005. "Who is Willing to Let Ethics Guide His Economic Decision-Making? Evidence from Individual Investments in Ethical Funds," Working Paper Series 7/2005, Stockholm University, Swedish Institute for Social Research.
    18. Mitrut, Andreea & Nordblom, Katarina, 2010. "Social norms and gift behavior: Theory and evidence from Romania," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 54(8), pages 998-1015, November.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • Z13 - Other Special Topics - - Cultural Economics - - - Economic Sociology; Economic Anthropology; Language; Social and Economic Stratification

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