Altruism in anonymous dictator games

Catherine C. Eckel, Philip J. Grossman

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We conduct double-anonymous dictator experiments to explore the role of altruism in motivating subjects' behavior. We vary the extent to which an anonymous recipient is deserving of aid and investigate its effect on the allocation of a fixed pie by student subjects. This is accomplished by including as treatments: (1) an anonymous student subject and (2) an established charity. We find that a significant increase in donations occurs when we increase the extent to which a donation goes to a recipient generally agreed to be "deserving." We conclude that subjects are rational in the way they incorporate fairness into their decisions. Journal of Economic Literature Classification Numbers: A13, C91, D64.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)181-191
Number of pages11
JournalGames and Economic Behavior
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 1996

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