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Competition for power and altruism


  • Luigi Bosco


The paper analyzes the trade-off between power and altruism by using an experimental framework which involved a group of experimental agents, undergraduate students of the University of Siena. The results show that the introduction into the experimental structure of a tournament for the power appreciably altered the behaviour of agents. More specifically the degree of altruism, measured by the dictator offers, significantly decreased when the agents were able to trade altruism for power. The results were more clear-cut and robust in the case of the dictator game, but also in the case of the ultimatum game the introduction of the tournament for power altered the behavior of subjects. A significant gender effect emerged

Suggested Citation

  • Luigi Bosco, 2009. "Competition for power and altruism," Department of Economics University of Siena 562, Department of Economics, University of Siena.
  • Handle: RePEc:usi:wpaper:562

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    Cited by:

    1. Kosta Josifidis & Alpar Lošonc, 2012. "Value and Power in Economics," Panoeconomicus, Savez ekonomista Vojvodine, Novi Sad, Serbia, vol. 59(4), pages 501-519, September.

    More about this item


    Altruism; Dictator game; Ultimatum game; Hierarchy;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • C91 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments - - - Laboratory, Individual Behavior
    • D64 - Microeconomics - - Welfare Economics - - - Altruism; Philanthropy; Intergenerational Transfers

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