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Is Altruism Feasible? Interdependent Preferences Provide the Answer

  • Vicki Knoblauch

    (University of Connecticut)

Is it possible to be altruistic in the face of altruism? With a naive definition of altruism, the answer is no. If an altruistic consumer is defined to be one whose preferences over allocations satisfy an appropriate interdependence condition, then the answer is yes. However, altruism in the face of malice is impossible. One of our findings is that if two consumers are mutually altruistic, exactly one of them should adopt selfish preferences over allocations.

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Paper provided by University of Connecticut, Department of Economics in its series Working papers with number 2001-04.

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Length: 18 pages
Date of creation: Nov 2001
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:uct:uconnp:2001-04
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Web page: http://www.econ.uconn.edu/

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  1. Barro, Robert J., 1974. "Are Government Bonds Net Wealth?," Scholarly Articles 3451399, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  2. Bergstrom, Theodore C, 1999. " Systems of Benevolent Utility Functions," Journal of Public Economic Theory, Association for Public Economic Theory, vol. 1(1), pages 71-100.
  3. Kockesen, Levent & Ok, Efe A. & Sethi, Rajiv, 2000. "The Strategic Advantage of Negatively Interdependent Preferences," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 92(2), pages 274-299, June.
  4. Bester, Helmut & Guth, Werner, 1998. "Is altruism evolutionarily stable?," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 34(2), pages 193-209, February.
  5. Georg Kirchsteiger & Ernst Fehr & Arno Riedl, 1993. "Does Fairness Prevent Market Clearing? An Experimental Investigation," ULB Institutional Repository 2013/5927, ULB -- Universite Libre de Bruxelles.
  6. Andreoni,J. & Miller,J.H., 1999. "Giving according to GARP : an experimental test of the rationality of altruism," Working papers 2, Wisconsin Madison - Social Systems.
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