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Emotions of Altruism, Envy and Guilt: Experimental Evidence


  • Moreno, Alejandro
  • Viianto, Lari
  • García, Daniel


We run an economic experiment in order to find out the preferences of altruism, envy, and guilt at individual level. We extend Andreoni and Miller’s (2002) series of Dictator Experiments and Fisman et al.’s (2007) graphical experiment in order to have additional and more precise data at individual level. We run 55 graphical dictator games including some with a positive relation between the money the Dictator and the Receiver obtain, in order to estimate individual preferences for envy and guilt. Our program is interactive, as it looks for the regions where individuals´ emotions change from altruist to envy, and altruism to guilt, and changes the form of the budget sets. We find that most individuals show the emotion of altruism when facing other individuals that have similar income as themselves. However, some individuals show the emotion of envy when facing other individuals with much higher payoffs than themselves. More surprisingly, some individuals reveal the emotion of guilt when they have much higher payoffs that other individuals.

Suggested Citation

  • Moreno, Alejandro & Viianto, Lari & García, Daniel, 2019. "Emotions of Altruism, Envy and Guilt: Experimental Evidence," MPRA Paper 94096, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  • Handle: RePEc:pra:mprapa:94096

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Afriat, Sidney N, 1972. "Efficiency Estimation of Production Function," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 13(3), pages 568-598, October.
    2. Federico Echenique & Sangmok Lee & Matthew Shum, 2011. "The Money Pump as a Measure of Revealed Preference Violations," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 119(6), pages 1201-1223.
    3. Raymond Fisman & Shachar Kariv & Daniel Markovits, 2007. "Individual Preferences for Giving," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 97(5), pages 1858-1876, December.
    4. James Andreoni & John Miller, 2002. "Giving According to GARP: An Experimental Test of the Consistency of Preferences for Altruism," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 70(2), pages 737-753, March.
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    More about this item


    Altruism; Envy; Guilt; Experimental Economics;

    JEL classification:

    • C79 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Game Theory and Bargaining Theory - - - Other
    • C91 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments - - - Laboratory, Individual Behavior
    • D64 - Microeconomics - - Welfare Economics - - - Altruism; Philanthropy; Intergenerational Transfers

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