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Alcohol Expenditure, Generosity and Empathy


  • David Fielding

    () (Department of Economics, University of Otago, New Zealand)

  • Stephen Knowles

    () (Department of Economics, University of Otago, New Zealand)

  • Kirsten Robertson

    () (Department of Marketing, University of Otago, New Zealand)


Existing studies suggest that alcohol dependency (or recovery from alcohol dependency) is associated with lower levels of empathy and generosity. We present results from a charitable donation experiment which shows that in a student population, higher levels of alcohol expenditure are associated with significantly less generosity. However, there is no significant association between alcohol expenditure and empathy (as measured by the Empathy Quotient Scale), which suggests that the relationship between alcohol expenditure on generosity is mediated through some other channel.

Suggested Citation

  • David Fielding & Stephen Knowles & Kirsten Robertson, 2017. "Alcohol Expenditure, Generosity and Empathy," Working Papers 1711, University of Otago, Department of Economics, revised Dec 2017.
  • Handle: RePEc:otg:wpaper:1711

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Brenner, M.H., 1975. "Trends in alcohol consumption and associated illnesses. Some effects of economic changes," American Journal of Public Health, American Public Health Association, vol. 65(12), pages 1279-1292.
    2. Azar, Ofer H. & Yosef, Shira & Bar-Eli, Michael, 2015. "Restaurant tipping in a field experiment: How do customers tip when they receive too much change?," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 50(C), pages 13-21.
    3. Meleddu, Marta & Pulina, Manuela, 2016. "Evaluation of individuals’ intention to pay a premium price for ecotourism: An exploratory study," Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics (formerly The Journal of Socio-Economics), Elsevier, vol. 65(C), pages 67-78.
    4. Jeremy Clark & Arlene Garces-Ozanne & Stephen Knowles, 2018. "Emphasising the Problem or the Solution in Charitable Fundraising for International Development," Journal of Development Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 54(6), pages 1082-1094, June.
    5. Ahmed, Ali M. & Salas, Osvaldo, 2011. "Implicit influences of Christian religious representations on dictator and prisoner's dilemma game decisions," Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics (formerly The Journal of Socio-Economics), Elsevier, vol. 40(3), pages 242-246, May.
    6. Bolton, Gary E. & Katok, Elena, 1995. "An experimental test for gender differences in beneficent behavior," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 48(3-4), pages 287-292, June.
    7. Dave, Dhaval & Saffer, Henry, 2008. "Alcohol demand and risk preference," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 29(6), pages 810-831, December.
    8. Rene Bekkers, 2007. "Measuring altruistic behavior in surveys: The all-or-nothing dictator game," Artefactual Field Experiments 00102, The Field Experiments Website.
    9. Richins, Marsha L & Dawson, Scott, 1992. "A Consumer Values Orientation for Materialism and Its Measurement: Scale Development and Validation," Journal of Consumer Research, Oxford University Press, vol. 19(3), pages 303-316, December.
    10. David Fielding & Stephen Knowles & Kirsten Robertson, 2017. "When does it matter how you ask? Cross-subject heterogeneity in framing effects in a charitable donation experiment," Working Papers 1701, University of Otago, Department of Economics, revised Jan 2017.
    11. Luca Corazzini & Antonio Filippin & Paolo Vanin, 2015. "Economic Behavior under the Influence of Alcohol: An Experiment on Time Preferences, Risk-Taking, and Altruism," PLOS ONE, Public Library of Science, vol. 10(4), pages 1-25, April.
    12. Atkinson, Anthony B., 1970. "On the measurement of inequality," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 2(3), pages 244-263, September.
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    More about this item


    alcohol; generosity; empathy; Dictator Game;

    JEL classification:

    • D64 - Microeconomics - - Welfare Economics - - - Altruism; Philanthropy; Intergenerational Transfers
    • I19 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Other

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