Directed Generosity and Network Formation: Network Dimension Matters

46 Pages Posted: 13 Dec 2010

See all articles by Ben D'Exelle

Ben D'Exelle

University of East Anglia (UEA)

Arno Riedl

Maastricht University; IZA Institute of Labor Economics; CESifo (Center for Economic Studies and Ifo Institute); Netspar


We explore network effects on generosity for different network dimensions. To this end we elicit multiple network dimensions (friendship, social support, economic exchange, etc.) in a rural village in the Southern hemisphere and measure generosity with a sequence of dictator games conducted in the field. We find that networks of different dimensions differ substantially in density, clustering, and centrality. When relating generosity to networks we observe that social distance only matters for friendship ties but that structural network variables are important in all network dimensions. Importantly, these effects are not invariant across different network dimensions. We also find that individual characteristics are unrelated with generosity per se but that they have strong explanatory power for network formation.

Keywords: networks, generosity, network formation, experiments

JEL Classification: C72, C90, D64, L14, Z13

Suggested Citation

D’Exelle, Ben and Riedl, Arno M., Directed Generosity and Network Formation: Network Dimension Matters. IZA Discussion Paper No. 5356. Available at SSRN:

Ben D’Exelle (Contact Author)

University of East Anglia (UEA) ( email )

Norwich Research Park
Norwich, NR4 7TJ
United Kingdom

Arno M. Riedl

Maastricht University ( email )

Department of Economics (AE1)
P.O. Box 616
Maastricht, 6200 MD

IZA Institute of Labor Economics

P.O. Box 7240
Bonn, D-53072

CESifo (Center for Economic Studies and Ifo Institute)

Poschinger Str. 5
Munich, DE-81679

Netspar ( email )

P.O. Box 90153
Tilburg, 5000 LE

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