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Near and Generous? Gift Propensity and Chosen Emotional Distance

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Listed:
  • H. Eika, Kari

    () (Ministry of Health and Care Services)

Abstract

This experimental study asks whether generosity decreases emotional distance, a question pertinent to human service quality. Highly vulnerable service recipients may not enforce quality standards. Quality can then be viewed as an act of generosity, a gift from the provider to the recipient. For a human service provider that sympathizes with the recipient, delivering poor quality is psychologically costly. To reduce this cost she may increase emotional distance. Since human service quality presupposes social interaction and involvement, quality is reduced further. The mechanism – which can account for vicious and virtuous circles in the provision of quality – is explored in a binary dictator game where the recipients pay-off is uncertain. The dictator decides whether to know the recipients pay-off and how. Subjects are more eager to inquire about their recipients pay-off when they themselves have been generous, and to do so by contacting the recipient when the recipient correctly perceives that action to be kind.

Suggested Citation

  • H. Eika, Kari, 2010. "Near and Generous? Gift Propensity and Chosen Emotional Distance," Memorandum 06/2011, Oslo University, Department of Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:hhs:osloec:2011_006
    as

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    File URL: https://www.sv.uio.no/econ/english/research/unpublished-works/working-papers/pdf-files/2011/Memo-06-2011.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Hoffman Elizabeth & McCabe Kevin & Shachat Keith & Smith Vernon, 1994. "Preferences, Property Rights, and Anonymity in Bargaining Games," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 7(3), pages 346-380, November.
    2. Broberg, Tomas & Ellingsen, Tore & Johannesson, Magnus, 2007. "Is generosity involuntary?," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 94(1), pages 32-37, January.
    3. Hoffman, Elizabeth & McCabe, Kevin & Smith, Vernon L, 1996. "Social Distance and Other-Regarding Behavior in Dictator Games," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 86(3), pages 653-660, June.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    More about this item

    Keywords

    human services; emotional distance; cognitive dissonance; generosity; dictator game;

    JEL classification:

    • C90 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments - - - General
    • D03 - Microeconomics - - General - - - Behavioral Microeconomics: Underlying Principles
    • D23 - Microeconomics - - Production and Organizations - - - Organizational Behavior; Transaction Costs; Property Rights
    • D64 - Microeconomics - - Welfare Economics - - - Altruism; Philanthropy; Intergenerational Transfers
    • I11 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Analysis of Health Care Markets
    • I21 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - Analysis of Education

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