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Generosity across contexts

  • Alexander L. Davis
  • Nadja R. Jehli
  • John H. Miller
  • Roberto A. Weber

Extensive research in economics explores generosity in monetary allocations. However, generosity often involves the allocation of non-monetary goods or experiences. Existing evidence suggests that generosity may be higher in such contexts, though no direct comparison exists. Here, we compare generosity in decisions that vary whether allocations are monetary or non-monetary. In two experiments, generosity is significantly higher in non-monetary contexts. Thus, the typical monetary laboratory dictator game may underestimate generosity in many non-laboratory contexts where allocations are non-monetary. We find weaker relationships between individuals’ allocation decisions across monetary and non-monetary contexts than for allocations that hold constant the monetary nature of the context.

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File URL: http://www.econ.uzh.ch/static/wp/econwp050.pdf
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Paper provided by Department of Economics - University of Zurich in its series ECON - Working Papers with number 050.

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Date of creation: Nov 2011
Date of revision: Mar 2015
Handle: RePEc:zur:econwp:050
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  1. Bruno S. Frey & David A. Savage & Benno Torgler, 2008. "Noblesse Oblige? Determinants of Survival in a Life and Death Situation," CESifo Working Paper Series 2425, CESifo Group Munich.
  2. John A. List, 2007. "On the Interpretation of Giving in Dictator Games," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 115, pages 482-493.
  3. Nicholas Bardsley, 2008. "Dictator game giving: altruism or artefact?," Experimental Economics, Springer, vol. 11(2), pages 122-133, June.
  4. Dean Karlan & John A. List, 2007. "Does Price Matter in Charitable Giving? Evidence from a Large-Scale Natural Field Experiment," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 97(5), pages 1774-1793, December.
  5. David Reiley & John List, 2008. "Field experiments," Artefactual Field Experiments 00091, The Field Experiments Website.
  6. 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.
  7. Steven D. Levitt & John A. List, 2007. "What Do Laboratory Experiments Measuring Social Preferences Reveal About the Real World?," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 21(2), pages 153-174, Spring.
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