A Status Based Motivation for Behavioural Altruism

22 Pages Posted: 24 Jun 2005

See all articles by Philipp C. Wichardt

Philipp C. Wichardt

University of Rostock - Department of Economics

Date Written: May 4, 2007


This paper emphasises a potential purely selfish motivation for behavioural altruism. It is based on personal status seeking and the observation that individual status derives also from the groups the individual identifies with. Altruistic behaviour within the group, then, can be rationalised as an attempt to maximise utility as derived from status. Interestingly, according to the present approach, altruism will be hard to establish if it is to the detriment of none. Moreover, it is a direct consequence of our argument that individual contributions to a group are increasing in the perceived impact these have on the relative standing of the group. Hence, for example the effort exerted by a firm's workforce is predicted to be increasing in the impact this has on the firm's standing as perceived by the workers.

Keywords: Altruism, Identity, Incentives, Intrinsic Motivation, Status

JEL Classification: A14, D01, I31, J24, Z13

Suggested Citation

Wichardt, Philipp C., A Status Based Motivation for Behavioural Altruism (May 4, 2007). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=747604 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.747604

Philipp C. Wichardt (Contact Author)

University of Rostock - Department of Economics ( email )

Ulmenstr. 69
Rostock, 18057

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