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Relative Earnings and Giving in a Real-Effort Experiment

  • Nisvan Erkal
  • Lata Gangadharan
  • Nikos Nikiforakis

This paper investigates the relationship between relative earnings and giving in a twostage, real-effort experiment. In the first stage, four players compete in a tournament that determines their earnings. In the second stage, they decide whether they wish to transfer part of their earnings to one or more of their group members. Our main finding is that those who are ranked first are significantly less likely to give than those who are ranked second. This non-monotonic relationship between earnings and likelihood of giving disappears if individual earnings are randomly determined or if individuals learn about the second (transfer) stage only after they earn their income. These results suggest that the non-monotonic relationship detected may be driven by differences in individuals’ expectations about others’ behavior in the second stage, which are correlated with their own willingness to give.

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Paper provided by The University of Melbourne in its series Department of Economics - Working Papers Series with number 1067.

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Length: 44 pages
Date of creation: 2009
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:mlb:wpaper:1067
Contact details of provider: Postal: Department of Economics, The University of Melbourne, 4th Floor, FBE Building, Level 4, 111 Barry Street. Victoria, 3010, Australia
Phone: +61 3 8344 5355
Fax: +61 3 8344 6899
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