Comparative Statics of Altruism and Spite

44 Pages Posted: 4 Aug 2008

See all articles by Igal Milchtaich

Igal Milchtaich

Bar-Ilan University - Department of Economics

Date Written: August 4, 2008


The equilibrium outcome of a strategic interaction between two or more people may depend on the weight they place on each other's payoff. A positive, negative or zero weight represents altruism, spite or complete selfishness, respectively. Paradoxically, the real, material payoff in equilibrium for a group of altruists may be lower than for selfish or spiteful groups. However, this can only be so if the equilibria involved are unstable. If they are stable, the total (equivalently, average) payoff can only increase or remain unchanged with an increasing degree of altruism.

Keywords: Altruism, spite, comparative statics, strategic games, stability of equilibrium

JEL Classification: C62, C72, D64

Suggested Citation

Milchtaich, Igal, Comparative Statics of Altruism and Spite (August 4, 2008). Available at SSRN: or

Igal Milchtaich (Contact Author)

Bar-Ilan University - Department of Economics ( email )

Ramat-Gan, 52900

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