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Revealed Altruism

  • James C. Cox
  • Daniel Friedman
  • Vjollca Sadiraj

This paper develops a nonparametric theory of preferences over one's own and others' monetary payoffs. We introduce "more altruistic than" (MAT), a partial ordering over preferences, and interpret it with known parametric models. We also introduce and illustrate "more generous than" (MGT), a partial ordering over opportunity sets. Several recent studies focus on two player extensive form games of complete information in which the first mover (FM) chooses a more or less generous opportunity set for the second mover (SM). Here reciprocity can be formalized as the assertion that an MGT choice by the FM will elicit MAT preferences in the SM. A further assertion is that the effect on preferences is stronger for acts of commission by FM than for acts of omission. We state and prove propositions on the observable consequences of these assertions. Finally, empirical support for the propositions is found in existing data from investment games and from Stackelberg games and in new data from Stackelberg mini-games.

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File URL: http://excen.gsu.edu/workingpapers/GSU_EXCEN_WP_2006-09.pdf
File Function: First version, 2006
Download Restriction: no

File URL: http://excen.gsu.edu/workingpapers/GSU_EXCEN_WP_2007-06.pdf
File Function: Revised version, 2007
Download Restriction: no

Paper provided by Experimental Economics Center, Andrew Young School of Policy Studies, Georgia State University in its series Experimental Economics Center Working Paper Series with number 2006-09.

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Length: 50
Date of creation:
Date of revision: Jul 2007
Handle: RePEc:exc:wpaper:2006-09
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  1. Gary Charness & Matthew Rabin, 2002. "Understanding Social Preferences With Simple Tests," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 117(3), pages 817-869, August.
  2. Ronald Bosman & Frans van Winden, 2002. "Emotional Hazard in a Power-to-take Experiment," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 112(476), pages 147-169, January.
  3. Berg Joyce & Dickhaut John & McCabe Kevin, 1995. "Trust, Reciprocity, and Social History," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 10(1), pages 122-142, July.
  4. Fehr, Ernst & Kirchsteiger, George & Riedl, Arno, 1993. "Does Fairness Prevent Market Clearing? An Experimental Investigation," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 108(2), pages 437-59, May.
  5. Armin Falk & Urs Fischbacher, 2001. "A Theory of Reciprocity," CESifo Working Paper Series 457, CESifo Group Munich.
  6. James C. Cox & Vjollca Sadiraj, . "Direct Tests of Models of Social Preferences and a New Model," Experimental Economics Center Working Paper Series 2006-13, Experimental Economics Center, Andrew Young School of Policy Studies, Georgia State University, revised Jul 2010.
  7. Huck, Steffen & Müller, Wieland & Normann, Hans-Theo, 1999. "Stackelberg beats Cournot: On collusion and efficiency in experimental markets," SFB 373 Discussion Papers 1999,32, Humboldt University of Berlin, Interdisciplinary Research Project 373: Quantification and Simulation of Economic Processes.
  8. David K Levine, 1997. "Modeling Altruism and Spitefulness in Experiments," Levine's Working Paper Archive 2047, David K. Levine.
  9. Ernst Fehr & Klaus M. Schmidt, . "A Theory of Fairness, Competition and Cooperation," IEW - Working Papers 004, Institute for Empirical Research in Economics - University of Zurich.
  10. Sonnemans, Joep & Dijk, Frans van & Winden, Frans van, 2006. "On the dynamics of social ties structures in groups," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 27(2), pages 187-204, April.
  11. Abbink, Klaus & Irlenbusch, Bernd & Renner, Elke, 2000. "The moonlighting game: An experimental study on reciprocity and retribution," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 42(2), pages 265-277, June.
  12. Ernst Fehr & Simon Gaechter, . "Fairness and Retaliation: The Economics of Reciprocitys," IEW - Working Papers 040, Institute for Empirical Research in Economics - University of Zurich.
  13. Georg Kirchsteiger & Martin Dufwenberg, 2004. "A theory of sequential reciprocity," ULB Institutional Repository 2013/5899, ULB -- Universite Libre de Bruxelles.
  14. Guth, Werner & Schmittberger, Rolf & Schwarze, Bernd, 1982. "An experimental analysis of ultimatum bargaining," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 3(4), pages 367-388, December.
  15. James Cox & Daniel Friedman & Steven Gjerstad, 2004. "A Tractable Model of Reciprocity and Fairness," Experimental 0406001, EconWPA.
  16. James Andreoni & John Miller, 2002. "Giving According to GARP: An Experimental Test of the Consistency of Preferences for Altruism," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 70(2), pages 737-753, March.
  17. Axel Ockenfels & Gary E. Bolton, 2000. "ERC: A Theory of Equity, Reciprocity, and Competition," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 90(1), pages 166-193, March.
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