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Directed Altruism and Enforced Reciprocity in Social Networks

  • Quoc-Anh Do

    ()

    (School of Economics, Singapore Management University)

  • Stephen Leider

    (Harvard University)

  • Markus M. Mobius

    (Harvard University)

  • Tanya Rosenblat

    (Iowa State University)

We conduct online field experiments in large real-world social networks in order to decompose prosocial giving into three components: (1) baseline altruism toward randomly selected strangers, (2) directed altruism that favors friends over random strangers, and (3) giving motivated by the prospect of future interaction. Directed altruism increases giving to friends by 52 percent relative to random strangers, while future interaction effects increase giving by an additional 24 percent when giving is socially efficient. This finding suggests that future interaction affects giving through a repeated game mechanism where agents can be rewarded for granting efficiency enhancing favors. We also find that subjects with higher baseline altruism have friends with higher baseline altruism.

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Paper provided by Singapore Management University, School of Economics in its series Working Papers with number 17-2008.

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Length: 28 Pages
Date of creation: Nov 2008
Date of revision:
Publication status: Published in SMU Economics and Statistics Working Paper Series
Handle: RePEc:siu:wpaper:17-2008
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  1. Szeidl, Adam & Rosenblat, Tanya & Mobius, Markus & Karlan, Dean, 2009. "Trust and Social Collateral," Scholarly Articles 3051620, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  2. Rosenblat, Tanya & Mobius, Markus, 2009. "Directed Altruism and Enforced Reciprocity in Social Networks," Staff General Research Papers Archive 13025, Iowa State University, Department of Economics.
  3. Quoc-Anh Do & Stephen Leider & Markus M. Mobius & Tanya Rosenblat, 2009. "What Do We Expect from Our Friends?," Working Papers 09-2009, Singapore Management University, School of Economics.
  4. Kovarik, Jaromir & Jiménez, Natalia & Ponti, Giovanni & Espinosa Alejos, María Paz & Brañas Garza, Pablo & Cobo Reyes, Ramón, 2009. "Altruism and Social Integration," IKERLANAK 2009-35, Universidad del País Vasco - Departamento de Fundamentos del Análisis Económico I.
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    • Kovarik, Jaromir & Jiménez, Natalia & Ponti, Giovanni & Espinosa Alejos, María Paz & Brañas Garza, Pablo & Cobo Reyes, Ramón, 2009. "Altruism and Social Integration," DFAEII Working Papers 2009-35, University of the Basque Country - Department of Foundations of Economic Analysis II.
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  11. Andreoni, James & Vesterlund, Lise, 2001. "Which is the Fair Sex? Gender Differences in Altruism," Staff General Research Papers Archive 1951, Iowa State University, Department of Economics.
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