Generosity Across Contexts

University of Zurich, Department of Economics, Working Paper No. 50

44 Pages Posted: 7 Dec 2011 Last revised: 18 Mar 2015

Alexander L. Davis

Carnegie Mellon University

Nadja R. Jehli

University of Zurich

John H. Miller

Carnegie Mellon University - Department of Social and Decision Sciences

Roberto A. Weber

University of Zurich - Department of Economics; CESifo (Center for Economic Studies and Ifo Institute)

Multiple version iconThere are 2 versions of this paper

Date Written: March 5, 2015

Abstract

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.

Keywords: Altruism, generosity, non-monetary, harm, experiment

JEL Classification: D03, D64, C91

Suggested Citation

Davis, Alexander L. and Jehli, Nadja R. and Miller, John H. and Weber, Roberto A., Generosity Across Contexts (March 5, 2015). University of Zurich, Department of Economics, Working Paper No. 50. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1969403 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1969403

Alexander L. Davis (Contact Author)

Carnegie Mellon University ( email )

Pittsburgh, PA 15213-3890
United States

Nadja R. Jehli

University of Zurich ( email )

Rämistrasse 71
Zürich, CH-8006
Switzerland

John H. Miller

Carnegie Mellon University - Department of Social and Decision Sciences ( email )

Pittsburgh, PA 15213-3890
United States
412-268-3229 (Phone)
412-268-6938 (Fax)

Roberto A. Weber

University of Zurich - Department of Economics ( email )

Zuerich, 8006
Switzerland

CESifo (Center for Economic Studies and Ifo Institute) ( email )

Poschinger Str. 5
Munich, DE-81679
Germany

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