To Give or Not to Give? - Equity, Efficiency and Altruistic Behavior in a Survey-Based Experiment

24 Pages Posted: 31 May 2011

See all articles by Vittorio Pelligra

Vittorio Pelligra

Universita di Cagliari - Department of Economics

Luca Stanca

University of Milan, Bicocca - Department of Economics; Università degli Studi di Milano-Bicocca - Center for Interdisciplinary Studies in Economics, Psychology & Social Sciences (CISEPS); Università degli Studi di Milano-Bicocca - Department of Economics, Management and Statistics (DEMS)

Date Written: December 1, 2010

Abstract

This paper presents the results of a survey-based experiment on the role of equity and efficiency for altruistic behavior. Using simple binary decisions for a representative pool of subjects, we find that both equity and efficiency are relevant for the decision to give. However, contrary to the findings in several laboratory experiments, our results indicate that equity plays a major role for altruistic behavior. Differences in relative payoffs have a significant effect on the decision to give. When giving is not costly, more than half of the subjects prefer equal payoffs to a socially efficient but unequal allocation. When giving is Pareto-improving, half the subjects choose to sacrifice a higher payoff in order to avoid payoff inequality. We also find that preferences, as revealed by experimental choices, are largely consistent with reported pro-social activities, while only weakly related to self-reported well-being.

Keywords: altruism, inequality-aversion, social welfare, envy, large-scale experiment

JEL Classification: D63, C78, C91

Suggested Citation

Pelligra, Vittorio and Stanca, Luca, To Give or Not to Give? - Equity, Efficiency and Altruistic Behavior in a Survey-Based Experiment (December 1, 2010). CISEPS Research Paper No. 4/2011. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1854395 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1854395

Vittorio Pelligra

Universita di Cagliari - Department of Economics ( email )

V. S. Ignazio 17
Cagliari 09123, CA 09123
Italy

Luca Stanca (Contact Author)

University of Milan, Bicocca - Department of Economics ( email )

Piazza dell'Ateneo, Nuovo I
Milan 20126
Italy

Università degli Studi di Milano-Bicocca - Center for Interdisciplinary Studies in Economics, Psychology & Social Sciences (CISEPS) ( email )

Piazza dell'Ateneo Nuovo, 1
Milano, 20126
Italy

Università degli Studi di Milano-Bicocca - Department of Economics, Management and Statistics (DEMS) ( email )

Piazza dell'Ateneo Nuovo, 1
Milan, 20126
Italy

Register to save articles to
your library

Register

Paper statistics

Downloads
131
Abstract Views
934
rank
219,688
PlumX Metrics