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On the role of endowment heterogeneity and ambiguity for conditional cooperation


  • Felix Ebeling


Conditional cooperation (CC) is one of the most persistent behaviors in charitable giving. The laboratory experiment presented in this paper is designed to explore two questions: First, whether heterogeneous endowments of donors affect conditional cooperative giving. Second, whether potential donors exploit ambiguity about other donors’ endowments in a self-serving manner to justify lower giving. We find that heterogeneous endowments affect giving in a way that suggests individuals concern for equality of donors’ earnings after giving. Furthermore, the results do not confirm the exploitation of ambiguity about other donors’ endowments. Individuals do not bias beliefs about other donors’ endowments in a self-serving manner to justify lower giving.

Suggested Citation

  • Felix Ebeling, 2013. "On the role of endowment heterogeneity and ambiguity for conditional cooperation," Working Paper Series in Economics 58, University of Cologne, Department of Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:kls:series:0058

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Haisley, Emily C. & Weber, Roberto A., 2010. "Self-serving interpretations of ambiguity in other-regarding behavior," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 68(2), pages 614-625, March.
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    11. Jason Dana & Roberto Weber & Jason Kuang, 2007. "Exploiting moral wiggle room: experiments demonstrating an illusory preference for fairness," Economic Theory, Springer;Society for the Advancement of Economic Theory (SAET), vol. 33(1), pages 67-80, October.
    12. Sadrieh, Abdolkarim & Verbon, Harrie A.A., 2006. "Inequality, cooperation, and growth: An experimental study," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 50(5), pages 1197-1222, July.
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    More about this item


    public good; donation; conditional cooperation; social norms; ambiguity;

    JEL classification:

    • C91 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments - - - Laboratory, Individual Behavior
    • D63 - Microeconomics - - Welfare Economics - - - Equity, Justice, Inequality, and Other Normative Criteria and Measurement
    • H41 - Public Economics - - Publicly Provided Goods - - - Public Goods

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