A Status Based Motivation for Behavioural Altruism
22 Pages Posted: 24 Jun 2005
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: Suggested Citation