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Giving it now or later: altruism and discounting


  • Jaromir Kovarik

    (Universidad de Alicante)


We experimentally study the e¤ect of time on altruism. By postponing payments in a standard Dictator game, subjects allocate a future payment between themselves and others. Since both the payoffs of the Dictator and the Receiver are delayed until the same time, standard intertemporal utility maximization would predict that waiting time should not affect the Dictator's choice. In this respect, we observe that Dictators' decisions are not affected, as long as the time interval between the decision and payment is not large. On the other hand, for large time gaps, subjectsbecome more self-interested.

Suggested Citation

  • Jaromir Kovarik, 2008. "Giving it now or later: altruism and discounting," Working Papers. Serie AD 2008-10, Instituto Valenciano de Investigaciones Económicas, S.A. (Ivie).
  • Handle: RePEc:ivi:wpasad:2008-10

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    References listed on IDEAS

    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. Kreps, David M. & Milgrom, Paul & Roberts, John & Wilson, Robert, 1982. "Rational cooperation in the finitely repeated prisoners' dilemma," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 27(2), pages 245-252, August.
    3. Eckel, Catherine C & Grossman, Philip J, 1998. "Are Women Less Selfish Than Men? Evidence from Dictator Experiments," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 108(448), pages 726-735, May.
    4. Mas-Colell, Andreu & Whinston, Michael D. & Green, Jerry R., 1995. "Microeconomic Theory," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780195102680.
    5. Eckel, Catherine C. & Grossman, Philip J., 1996. "Altruism in Anonymous Dictator Games," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 16(2), pages 181-191, October.
    6. David Laibson, 1997. "Golden Eggs and Hyperbolic Discounting," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 112(2), pages 443-478.
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    Cited by:

    1. Rodriguez-Lara, Ismael & Ponti, Giovanni, 2017. "Social Motives vs Social Influence: an Experiment on Time Preferences," MPRA Paper 76486, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    2. Dorian Jullien, 2016. "Under Uncertainty, Over Time and Regarding Other People: Rationality in 3D," GREDEG Working Papers 2016-20, Groupe de REcherche en Droit, Economie, Gestion (GREDEG CNRS), University of Nice Sophia Antipolis.
    3. Takanori Ida & Kazuhito Ogawa, 2012. "Inequality aversion, social discount, and time discount rates," International Journal of Social Economics, Emerald Group Publishing, vol. 39(5), pages 314-329, April.
    4. Gagnon, Nickolas & Noussair, C., 2016. "Does Reciprocity Persist Over Time?," Research Memorandum 033, Maastricht University, Graduate School of Business and Economics (GSBE).
    5. Tonin, Mirco & Vlassopoulos, Michael, 2013. "Experimental evidence of self-image concerns as motivation for giving," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 90(C), pages 19-27.
    6. Anna Dreber & Drew Fudenberg & David K Levine & David G Rand, 2014. "Altruism and Self Control," Levine's Working Paper Archive 786969000000000962, David K. Levine.
    7. Dorian Jullien, 2017. "Under Risk, Over Time, Regarding Other People: Language and Rationality Within Three Dimensions
      [Face au risque, dans le temps, par rapport aux autres : langage et rationalité dans trois dimensions
      ," Post-Print halshs-01651042, HAL.
    8. Giovanni Ponti & Ismael Rodríguez Lara & Daniela Di Cagno, 2014. "Doing it now or later with payoff externalities: Experimental evidence on social time preferences," Working Papers. Serie AD 2014-05, Instituto Valenciano de Investigaciones Económicas, S.A. (Ivie).
    9. James Andreoni & Marta Serra-Garcia, 2016. "Time-Inconsistent Charitable Giving," NBER Working Papers 22824, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    10. repec:eee:gamebe:v:105:y:2017:i:c:p:177-194 is not listed on IDEAS

    More about this item


    Altruism; Discounting; Dictator game; Intertemporal choice.;

    JEL classification:

    • C91 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments - - - Laboratory, Individual Behavior
    • D64 - Microeconomics - - Welfare Economics - - - Altruism; Philanthropy; Intergenerational Transfers
    • D90 - Microeconomics - - Micro-Based Behavioral Economics - - - General

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