Taking, Giving, and Impure Altruism in Dictator Games
We show that, if giving is equivalent to not taking, impure altruism could account for List's (2007) finding that the payoff to recipients in a dictator game decreases when the dictator has the option to take. We examine behavior in dictator games with different taking options but equivalent final payoff possibilities. We find that recipients tend to earn more as the amount the dictator must take to achieve a given final payoff increases, a result consistent with the hypothesis that the cold prickle of taking is stronger than the warm glow of giving. We conclude that not taking is not equivalent to giving and agree with List (2007) that the current social preference models fail to rationalize the observed data.
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1002, VCU School of Business, Department of Economics, revised Jan 2011.
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