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Altruism without reciprocation in children

  • Luigi Mittone

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The focus of this paper is on altruism and coordination among children. A special form of altruism (ethical altruism) is investigated by means of experiments. The definition of altruism used here follows from A. Sen’s concept of obligation, i.e. behaviour that produces advantage for someone whose welfare is not important for the agent’s well-being. In this sense, the paper investigates altruism without reciprocity. The experiment discussed was originally developed to test adult behaviour, whereas the experimental subjects in this case are two samples of children aged respectively 9 and 12 years old. The aim of the analysis was to verify whether the findings of the previous experiments with adults were confirmed when the subjects were much younger.

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File URL: http://www-ceel.economia.unitn.it/papers/papero03_02.pdf
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Paper provided by Cognitive and Experimental Economics Laboratory, Department of Economics, University of Trento, Italia in its series CEEL Working Papers with number 0302.

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Date of creation: 2003
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Handle: RePEc:trn:utwpce:0302
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  1. Bolton Gary E. & Zwick Rami, 1995. "Anonymity versus Punishment in Ultimatum Bargaining," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 10(1), pages 95-121, July.
  2. Mark Isaac, R. & McCue, Kenneth F. & Plott, Charles R., 1985. "Public goods provision in an experimental environment," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 26(1), pages 51-74, February.
  3. Forsythe Robert & Horowitz Joel L. & Savin N. E. & Sefton Martin, 1994. "Fairness in Simple Bargaining Experiments," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 6(3), pages 347-369, May.
  4. Fischbacher, Urs & Gachter, Simon & Fehr, Ernst, 2001. "Are people conditionally cooperative? Evidence from a public goods experiment," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 71(3), pages 397-404, June.
  5. R. Isaac & James Walker & Susan Thomas, 1984. "Divergent evidence on free riding: An experimental examination of possible explanations," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 43(2), pages 113-149, January.
  6. Isaac, R. Mark & Walker, James M. & Williams, Arlington W., 1994. "Group size and the voluntary provision of public goods : Experimental evidence utilizing large groups," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 54(1), pages 1-36, May.
  7. Hoffman Elizabeth & McCabe Kevin & Shachat Keith & Smith Vernon, 1994. "Preferences, Property Rights, and Anonymity in Bargaining Games," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 7(3), pages 346-380, November.
  8. Andreoni, James & Miller, John H., 2008. "Analyzing Choice with Revealed Preference: Is Altruism Rational?," Handbook of Experimental Economics Results, Elsevier.
  9. Harbaugh, William T & Krause, Kate, 2000. "Children's Altruism in Public Good and Dictator Experiments," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 38(1), pages 95-109, January.
  10. Guth, Werner & Schmittberger, Rolf & Schwarze, Bernd, 1982. "An experimental analysis of ultimatum bargaining," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 3(4), pages 367-388, December.
  11. Luigi Mittone, 2003. "Ethical altruism and redistribution: an experimental approach," CEEL Working Papers 0301, Cognitive and Experimental Economics Laboratory, Department of Economics, University of Trento, Italia.
  12. Gary E. Bolton & Rami Zwick & Elena Katok, 1998. "Dictator game giving: Rules of fairness versus acts of kindness," International Journal of Game Theory, Springer, vol. 27(2), pages 269-299.
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