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Exposure to the Covid-19 pandemic and generosity


  • Pablo Brañas-Garza

    (Universidad Loyola)

  • Diego Jorrat

    (Universidad Loyola)

  • Antonio Alfonso-Costillo

    (Universidad Pablo de Olavide)

  • Antonio Espín

    (Universidad de Granada)

  • Teresa García

    (Universidad de Granada)

  • Kovárík Jaromír

    (Universidad del País Vasco)


We report data from an online experiment, which allow us to study whether generosity has changed during the early Covid-19 pandemic. We have gathered data from Spanish participants over a six-day period in which Covid-19-associated deaths in Spain, one of the most affected countries, increased fourfold. In our experiment, participants could donate a fraction of a €100 prize to a charity. Our data are particularly rich in the age distribution and we complement them with daily public information about the Covid-19-related deaths, infections, and hospital admissions. We find that donations decreased in the period under study and scale down with the public information about the life and health impact of the pandemic. The effect is particularly pronounced among older subjects. Our analysis of the mechanisms behind the detected decrease in solidarity highlights the key—but independent—role of expectations about others’ behavior, perceived mortality risk, and (alarming) information in behavioral adaptation.

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  • Pablo Brañas-Garza & Diego Jorrat & Antonio Alfonso-Costillo & Antonio Espín & Teresa García & Kovárík Jaromír, 2021. "Exposure to the Covid-19 pandemic and generosity," Working Papers 59, Red Nacional de Investigadores en Economía (RedNIE).
  • Handle: RePEc:aoz:wpaper:59

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    Cited by:

    1. Danae Arroyos-Calvera & Michalis Drouvelis & Johannes Lohse & Rebecca McDonald, 2020. "Improving compliance with COVID-19 guidance: a workplace field experiment," Discussion Papers 20-30, Department of Economics, University of Birmingham.
    2. William F. Vásquez & Jennifer M. Trudeau, 2022. "Willingness to give amid pandemics: a contingent valuation of anticipated nongovernmental immunization programs," International Journal of Health Economics and Management, Springer, vol. 22(1), pages 53-68, March.
    3. Blanco, Esther & Baier, Alexandra & Holzmeister, Felix & Jaber-Lopez, Tarek & Struwe, Natalie, 2022. "Substitution of social sustainability concerns under the Covid-19 pandemic," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 192(C).
    4. Espín, Antonio M. & Correa, Manuel & Ruiz-Villaverde, Alberto, 2022. "Economics students: Self-selected in preferences and indoctrinated in beliefs," International Review of Economics Education, Elsevier, vol. 39(C).
    5. Cappelen, Alexander W. & Falch, Ranveig & Sørensen, Erik Ø. & Tungodden, Bertil, 2021. "Solidarity and fairness in times of crisis," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 186(C), pages 1-11.
    6. Jeworrek, Sabrina & Waibel, Joschka, 2021. "Alone at home: The impact of social distancing on norm-consistent behavior," IWH Discussion Papers 8/2021, Halle Institute for Economic Research (IWH).
    7. Shachat, Jason & Walker, Matthew J. & Wei, Lijia, 2021. "How the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic impacted pro-social behaviour and individual preferences: Experimental evidence from China," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 190(C), pages 480-494.
    8. Marina L. Butovskaya & Valentina N. Burkova & Ashley K. Randall & Silvia Donato & Julija N. Fedenok & Lauren Hocker & Kai M. Kline & Khodabakhsh Ahmadi & Ahmad M. Alghraibeh & Fathil Bakir Mutsher All, 2021. "Cross-Cultural Perspectives on the Role of Empathy during COVID-19’s First Wave," Sustainability, MDPI, vol. 13(13), pages 1-35, July.
    9. Gutierrez, Emilio & Rubli, Adrian & Tavares, Tiago, 2022. "Information and behavioral responses during a pandemic: Evidence from delays in Covid-19 death reports," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 154(C).
    10. Fang, Ximeng & Freyer, Timo & Ho, Chui-Yee & Chen, Zihua & Goette, Lorenz, 2022. "Prosociality predicts individual behavior and collective outcomes in the COVID-19 pandemic," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 308(C).

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    More about this item


    Generosity Covid-19 Experiments Social Preferences;

    JEL classification:

    • C93 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments - - - Field Experiments
    • D64 - Microeconomics - - Welfare Economics - - - Altruism; Philanthropy; Intergenerational Transfers

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