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What Do We Expect from Our Friends?

  • Stephen Leider

    (Singapore Management University)

  • Markus M. Mobius
  • Tanya Rosenblat
  • Quoc-Anh Do

We conduct a field experiment in a large real-world social network to examine how subjects expect to be treated by their friends and by strangers who make allocation decisions in modified dictator games. While recipients beliefs accurately account for the extent to which friends will choose more generous allocations than strangers (i.e. directed altruism), recipients are not able to anticipate individual differences in the baseline altruism of allocators (measured by giving to an unnamed recipient, which is predictive of generosity towards named recipients). Recipients who are direct friends with the allocator, or even recipients with many common friends, are no more accurate in recognizing intrinsically altruistic allocators. Recipient be- liefs are significantly less accurate than the predictions of an econometrician who knows the allocators demographic characteristics and social distance, suggesting recipients do not have information on unobservable characteristics of the allocator.

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File URL: http://saber.eaber.org/node/23053
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Paper provided by East Asian Bureau of Economic Research in its series Microeconomics Working Papers with number 23053.

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Date of creation: Jan 2009
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Handle: RePEc:eab:microe:23053
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  9. Mobius, Markus & Rosenblat, Tanya, 2006. "Why Beauty Matters," Scholarly Articles 3043406, Harvard University Department of Economics.
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