Does Competition Affect Giving? An Experimental Study
We explore whether natural human competitiveness can be exploited to stimulate charitable giving in a controlled laboratory experiment involving three different treatments of a sequential ``dictator game.'' Without disclosing the actual amounts given and kept, in each period players are publicly ranked -- by the amount they give away, by the amount they keep for themselves, or spuriously. Our results are generally supportive of the hypothesis that competitive urges can encourage or frustrate altruistic behavior, depending on the competitive frame. We find some support for an alternative hypothesis that relative concerns are due to information-gathering rather than competition.
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