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Optimal Contracting with Altruism and Reciprocity

Motivated by the recent experimental evidence on altruistic behavior, we study a simple principal-agent model where each player cares about other players’ utility, and may reciprocate their attitude towards him. We show that, relative to the selfish benchmark, efficiency improves when players are altruistic. Nevertheless, in contrast to what may be expected, an increase in the degree of the agent’s altruism as well as a more reciprocal behavior by players has ambiguous effects on efficiency. We also consider the effects of the presence of spiteful players and discuss how monetary transfers between players depend on their degrees of altruism and spitefulness.

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Paper provided by Centre for Studies in Economics and Finance (CSEF), University of Naples, Italy in its series CSEF Working Papers with number 342.

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Date of creation: 10 Oct 2013
Date of revision:
Publication status: Published in Research in Economics, 2014, 68(1), 27–38
Handle: RePEc:sef:csefwp:342
Contact details of provider: Postal: I-80126 Napoli
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