Giving According to Garp: An Experimental Test of the Consistency of Preferences for Altruism

Posted: 23 Aug 2002

See all articles by James Andreoni

James Andreoni

University of California, San Diego (UCSD)

John H. Miller

Carnegie Mellon University - Department of Social and Decision Sciences

Abstract

Experimental subjects often do not appear to behave as selfish money-maximizers, especially when "fair" or "altruistic" motives are inconsistent with money-maximizing Nash equilibria. This paper asks whether this apparently unselfish behavior is consistent with some well-behaved preference ordering other than money-maximization. We do this by checking whether choices of subjects satisfy the axioms of revealed preferences, such as GARP. Further, we estimate utility functions that could have generated the data and use these to explore results from outside our experiment. We find that a rational neoclassical approach to altruism works well and provides a foundation for a preference-based approach to altruism and fairness.

Suggested Citation

Andreoni, James and Miller, John H., Giving According to Garp: An Experimental Test of the Consistency of Preferences for Altruism. Econometrica, Vol. 70, pp. 737-753, 2002. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=312257

James Andreoni (Contact Author)

University of California, San Diego (UCSD) ( email )

9500 Gilman Drive
La Jolla, CA 92093-0508
United States

HOME PAGE: http://econ.ucsd.edu/~jandreon/

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)

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