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What’s in a name? Racial identity and altruism in post-apartheid South Africa

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  • Wilhelm Gerhard van der Merwe
  • Justine Burns

Abstract

This paper reports the results of an economic experiment which was designed to test the effect of racial identity on generosity in a non-strategic setting. A sample of undergraduate University students was recruited to participate in a Dictator game, where surnames of individuals were revealed to convey information about racial identity. Results indicate that compared to a set of control experiments where participant identity was kept anonymous, revealing racial identity has a significant and positive impact on the size of the offers made. However, while Black participants did not vary their offers based on the racial identity of their partners, White participants were more generous towards White partners than Black partners, exhibiting insider favouritism in their offers.

Suggested Citation

  • Wilhelm Gerhard van der Merwe & Justine Burns, 2008. "What’s in a name? Racial identity and altruism in post-apartheid South Africa," Working Papers 91, Economic Research Southern Africa.
  • Handle: RePEc:rza:wpaper:91
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    File URL: http://www.econrsa.org/node/115
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    Cited by:

    1. Tomomi Tanaka & Colin F. Camerer, 2016. "Trait perceptions influence economic out-group bias: lab and field evidence from Vietnam," Experimental Economics, Springer;Economic Science Association, vol. 19(3), pages 513-534, September.
    2. Chiara Ravetti & Mare Sarr & Tim Swanson & Daniel Munene, 2017. "Discrimination and favouritism among workers: union membership and ethnic identity," CIES Research Paper series 57-2017, Centre for International Environmental Studies, The Graduate Institute.

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