The Empirical Analysis of Transfer Motives
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.
If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.
As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to look for a different version under "Related research" (further below) or search for a different version of it.
|This chapter was published in: ||This item is provided by Elsevier in its series Handbook on the Economics of Giving, Reciprocity and Altruism with number
1-02.||Handle:|| RePEc:eee:givchp:1-02||Contact details of provider:|| Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/wps/find/bookseriesdescription.cws_home/BS_HE/description|
When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:eee:givchp:1-02. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.
For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Dana Niculescu)
If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.
If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.
If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.
If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.
Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.