Y2K Bibliography of Experimental Economics and Social Science
Altruism

updated December 29, 1999
Charles A. Holt, cah2k@virginia.edu, suggestions and corrections welcome
(for online and personal use only)

Anderson, Simon P., Jacob K. Goeree, and Charles A. Holt (1998) “A Theoretical Analysis of Altruism and Decision Error in Public Goods Games,” Journal of Public Economics, 70:2 (November), 297-323. Keywords: experiments, public, voluntary contributions, nonlinear public goods games, game theory, logit equilibrium, altruism, quantal response, numbers effects. Abstract: This paper formalizes an equilibrium model in which altruism and decision error parameters determine the distribution of contributions in public goods games. The authors prove existence of a unique symmetric equilibrium density of contributions and show that 1) contributions increase with the marginal value of the public good, 2) total contributions increase with the number of participants if there is altruism, and 3) mean contributions lie between the Nash predictions and half of the endowment. These predictions, which are not implied by a standard Nash analysis, are roughly consistent with laboratory tests. Email Contact: holt@virginia.edu

Andreoni, James (1989) “Giving with Impure Altruism: Applications to Charity and Ricardian Equivalence,” Journal of Political Economy, 97:6 (December), 1447-1458. Keywords: experiments, public, voluntary contributions, altruism. Email Contact: andreoni@facstaff.wisc.edu

Andreoni, James (1990) “Impure Altruism and Donations to Public Goods: A Theory of Warm-Glow Giving?,” Economic Journal, 100:401 (June), 464-477. Keywords: experiments, public, voluntary contributions, warm glow altruism. Abstract: This paper elaborates a model of impure altruism that is based on social pressure, guilt, sympathy, or a simple desire for a "warm glow" from the act of giving. The theorietical implications of models of impure altruism are explored. Email Contact: andreoni@facstaff.wisc.edu

Andreoni, James (1993) “An Experimental Test of the Public Goods Crowding-Out Hypothesis,” American Economic Review, 83:5 (December), 1317-1327. Keywords: experiments, public, voluntary contributions, crowding out, altruism. Email Contact: andreoni@facstaff.wisc.edu

Andreoni, James (1995) “Cooperation in Public Goods Experiments: Kindness or Confusion?,” American Economic Review, 85:4 (September), 891-904. Keywords: experiments, public, voluntary contributions, altruism, decision errors. Abstract: A tournament payoff design is used to eliminate altruistic motives for contribution to a public good. The experimental results indicate that about half of contribution behavior is due to altruism and half to noisy behavior. Email Contact: andreoni@facstaff.wisc.edu

Andreoni, James (1995) “Warm-Glow Versus Cold-Prickle: The Effects of Positive and Negative Framing on Cooperation in Experiments,” Quarterly Journal of Economics, 110:1 (February), 1-21. Keywords: experiments, public, voluntary contributions, framing effects, warm glow altruism. Email Contact: andreoni@facstaff.wisc.edu

Andreoni, James, and John H. Miller (1997) “Giving According to GARP: An Experimental Study of Rationality and Altruism,” University of Wisconsin, Keywords: experiments, bargaining, altruism, Cobb Douglas utility, price effects, revealed preference, bargaining. Abstract: Subjects allocate money in dictator games facing various prices or tradeoffs between own and other's earnings. Decisions are generally consistent with the axioms of revealed preference. Utility functions of own and other's earnings are used to explain the observed choices. Email Contact: andreoni@facstaff.wisc.edu

Andreoni, James, and Lise Vesterlund (1999) “Which is the Fair Sex? Gender Differences in Altruism,” Quarterly Journal of Economics, forthcoming. Keywords: experiments, public, income distribution, division games, dictator games, altruism, gender effects. Abstract: Gender differences are analyzed using data from dictator games with different prices for transfering earnings to the other person. Men are more altruistic when it is cheap to transfer money to the other person, whereas women are more altruistic when it is expensive. Women are more likely to choose equal division, and men are more likely to be at the extremes (selfish or selfless). These differences may explain why other studies reach conflicting conclusions about gender effects on contributions to a public good. Email Contact: andreoni@facstaff.wisc.edu, vester@iastate.edu

Andreoni, James, and John H. Miller (1999) “Analyzing Choice with Revealed Preference: Is Altruism Rational?,” in Handbook of Experimental Economics Results, edited by C. R. Plott and V. L. Smith, New York: Elsevier Press, forthcoming. Keywords: experiments, public, altruism, revealed preference, survey. Abstract This is a brief survey of the use of revealed preference techniques in experiments. Email Contact: andreoni@facstaff.wisc.edu

Becker, Gary S. (1976) “Altruism, Egoism, and Genetic Fitness: Economics and Sociobiology,” Journal of Economic
Literature, 14:3 (September), 817-826. Keywords: altruism, evolution.

Becker, Gary S. (1981) “Altruism in the Family and Selfishness in the Market Place,” Economica, 48:189 (February), 1-15. Keywords: altruism, selfishness.

Berg, Joyce E., and Thomas A. Rietz (1997) “Do Unto Others: A Theory and Experimental Test of Interpersonal Factors in Decision Making Under Uncertainty,” University of Iowa, Discussion Paper. Keywords: experiments, decisions, auctions, bargaining, risk aversion, inequity aversion, altruism, fairness. Abstract: Data from individual choice experiments indicate that subjects are risk neutral or slightly risk averse in lottery-choice tasks, but data from interactive auctions and bargaining games suggest a higher degree of risk aversion. This paper attributes the anomalous effect of the economic institution on risk attitudes to interpersonal utility effects (altruism, competitiveness, fairness, etc.) Email Contact: joyce-berg@uiowa.edu

Bolle, Friedel, and Alexander Kritikos (1998) “On the Existence of Reciprocity and Altruism: Contradictions to ERC and FCC,” Europa-University, Viadrina, Discussion Paper, presented at the Summer 1998 ESA Meetings. Keywords: experiments, game theory, altruism, reciprocity, distributional preferences. Abstract: The paper reports experiments which indicate that subjects' preferences exhibit reciprocity, altruism, and concern for distribution of payoffs among others. Some of the results are inconsistent with recent theories of inequity aversion. Email Contact: bolle@euv-frankfurt-o.de

Bolton, Gary E. (1998) “Bargaining and Dilemma Games: From Laboratory Data Towards Theoretical Synthesis,” Experimental Economics, 1:3 257-281. Keywords: experiments, bargaining, bounded rationality, motivation, reciprocity, altruism, dilemma games, voluntary contributions, learning. Email Contact: geb3@psu.edu

Bolton, Gary E., Elena Katok, and Rami Zwick (1998) “Dictator Game Giving: Rules of Fairness versus Acts of Kindness*,” International Journal of Game Theory, 27:2 (July), 269-299. Keywords: experiments, bargaining, dictator game, fairness, altruism. Email Contact: geb3@psu.edu

Bolton, Gary E., and Elena Katok (1998) “An Experimental Test of the Crowding Out Hypothesis: The Nature of Beneficent Behavior,” Journal of Economic Behavior and Organization, 37:3 (November), 315-331. Keywords: experiments, public, voluntary contributions, altruism, crowding out, other-regarding preferences, dictator game. Abstract: This experiment is motivated by the standard theoretical result that government donations to charity crowd out private donations dollar for dollar. The less-than-full crowding out observed in the experiment is attributed to an incorrect specification of preferences in the standard theoretical model. Email Contact: geb3@psu.edu

Buchanan, L., Catherine C. Eckel, and Philip Grossman (1998) “To Give or Not to Give: Effects of Altruism and Recognition on Philanthropic Gifts,” Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, Discussion Paper, presented at the 1998 Public Choice Meetings. Keywords: experiments, public, voluntary contributions, altruism, social distance. Email Contact: eckelc@vt.edu

Carter, John R., Brian J. Drainville, and Rob P. Poulin (1992) “A Test for Rational Altruism in a Public Goods Experiment,” College of Holy Cross, Discussion Paper. Keywords: experiments, public, voluntary contributions, internal return, external return. Abstract: The public goods experiment reported here is based on a clever design that decomposes the marginal per capita return into an internal return (to oneself) and an external return (to each other person). Contributions are increasing in the internal and external returns when they are varied independently, and a joint change in both produces the standard "MPCR effect." Email Contact: jcarter@holycross.edu

Chan, Kenneth S., James Chowhan, and Stuart Meltelman (1999) “The Ring Test, Value Orientations, and Voluntary Contributions to Public Goods,” McMaster University, Discussion Paper, presented at the Spring 1999 Public Choice Meetings. Keywords: experiments, public, voluntary contributions, altruism, ring test, psychology.

Charness, Gary, and Ernan Haruvy (1999) “Altruism, Fairness, and Reciprocity: An Encompassing Approach,” Pompeu Fabra University, Discussion Paper, presented at the Spring 1999 Public Choice Meetings. Keywords: experiments, game theory, altruism, reciprocity, fairness. Email Contact: charness@upf.es

Clark, Jeremy (1998) “Altruism and Public Good Mechanisms: Should We Care?,” University of Canterbury, Discussion Paper, presented at the Summer 1998 ESA Meetings. Keywords: experiments, public, voluntary contributions, altruism, numbers effects, provision mechanisms. Abstract: This paper considers the theoretical effects of altruism on the performance of public goods provision mechanisms. Email Contact: j.clark@econ.canterbury.ac.nz

Coats, Jennifer, and William Neilson (1999) “Beliefs about Selfishness, Altruism, Fairness, and Spite: An Experimental Analysis,” Southern Illinois University at Carbondale, Discussion Paper, presented at the Summer 1999 ESA Meeting. Keywords: experiments, public, voluntary contributions, provision point, beliefs about others' preferences, spite, altruism, reciprocity, fairness. Email Contact: wsn@econr.tamu.edu

Cookson, Richard (1998) “Framing and Learning in a Public Goods Experiment,” University of York, Discussion Paper, presented at the Summer 1998 ESA Meetings. Keywords: experiments, public, voluntary contributions, framing effects, altruism, learning. Abstract: This paper documents the presence of framing effects in public goods experiments. Contributions increase when the incentives are presented to highlight the effect of contribution on others' earnings. Email Contact: rac11@york.ac.uk

Cooper, David J., and Carol Kraker (1998) “An Experimental Study of Fairness and Learning in Public Goods Games,” University of Pittsburgh, Discussion Paper, presented at the Summer 1998 ESA Meetings. Keywords: experiments, public, voluntary contributions, provision points, asymmetric individual provision-point requirements, fairness, errors, altruism. Abstract: The experiment has that the property that at least two of the three individuals in a group must contribute in order for the public good to be provided. The required contributions differ across individuals, which raises fairness concerns. The authors incorporate interpersonal utility considerations into a learning model to explain the data. Email Contact: djc13@guinness.som.cwru.edu

Deutsch, Morton, and Paul Kotik (1978) “Altruism and Bargaining,” in Bargaining Behavior, Contributions to Experimental Economics 7, edited by Heinz Sauermann, Tubingen: J. C. B. Mohr, 20-40. Keywords: experiments, bargaining, altruism. Email

Eckel, Catherine C., and Philip J. Grossman (1996) “Altruism in Anonymous Dictator Games,” Games and Economic Behavior, 16:2 (October), 181-191. Keywords: experiments, bargaining, dictator game, altruism. Email Contact: eckelc@vt.edu

Evans, M. G., and Y. C. Chang (1998) “Cheater Detection and Altruistic Behaviour: An Experimental and Methodological Exploration,” Managerial and Decision Economics, 19:7-8 (November-December), 467-480. Keywords: experiments, public, voluntary contributions, altruism, cheater detection.

Fehr, Ernst, and Klaus Schmidt (1999) “A Theory of Fairness, Competition, and Cooperation,” Quarterly Journal of Economics, 114:3 (August), 769-816. Keywords: experiments, public, voluntary contributions, bargaining, auctions, altruism, fairness, reciprocity, inequity aversion. Abstract: The paper presents a model of inequity aversion that is used to explain behavior in a wide class of experimental games, including markets and bargaining. Email Contact: fehr@iew.unizh.ch

Gneezy, Uri, Werner Güth, and Frank Verboven (1998) “Presents or Investments? An Experimental Analysis,” Tilburg University, Keywords: experiments, public,* altruism. Email Contact: gneezy@econ.haifa.ac.il

Goeree, Jacob K., Charles A. Holt, and Susan K. Laury (1998) “Altruism and Error in Two-Person Public Goods Experiments,” University of Virginia, Discussion Paper. Keywords: experiments, public, voluntary contributions, altruism, internal return, external return, MPCR effects, logit equilibrium, one shot games. Abstract: The effects of a contribution to a public good are decomposed into an internal return to the contributor and an external return to each of the others. Contributions in one-shot games are generally increasing in internal returns, external returns, and group size, and a logit model of individual behavior tracks treatment averages well, both for linear and non-linear altruism specifications. Email Contact: jg2n@virginia.edu

Güth, Werner, Theo Offerman, Jan Potters, Martin Strobel, and Harrie Verbon (1998) “An Experimental Study of Inter- and Intra-Generational Transfers in a Model with Multiple Families,” Humboldt University, Discussion Paper, presented at the Fall 1998 ESA Meetings. Keywords: experiments, game theory, altruism, inter-generational transfers. Email Contact: gueth@wiwi.hu-berlin.de

Harbaugh, William T., and Kate Krause (1998) “Children's Contributions in Public Good Experiments: The Development of Altruistic and Free-Riding Behaviors,” University of Oregon, Keywords: experiments, public, voluntary contributions, subject pool effects, children subjects, altruism, free-riding, bargaining, dictator game. Abstract: Voluntary contributions experiments reveal that altruistic behavior in children is similar in the aggregate to that of adults. The contributions of older children decline over time, as with adults, but the contributions of younger children tend to increase. A measure of group attachment is more closely correlated with contributions than social and demographic characteristics. Email Contact: harbaugh@oregon.uoregon.edu

Hoffman, Elizabeth, Kevin McCabe, and Vernon L. Smith (1999) “Social Distance and Other-Regarding Behavior in Dictator Games: Reply,” American Economic Review, 89:1 (March), 340-341. Keywords: experiments, bargaining, dictator game, social distance, other-regarding behavior, altruism. Email Contact: ehoffman@uic.edu

Holt, Charles A., and Susan K. Laury (1997) “Classroom Games: Voluntary Provision of a Public Good,” Journal of Economic Perspectives, 11:4 (Fall), 209-215. Keywords: experiments, classroom games, public, voluntary contributions, altruism. Abstract: This paper offers suggestions for how to run a public goods experiment in class and how to lead the subsequent discussion. Email Contact: holt@virginia.edu, slaury@gsu.edu

Holt, Charles A., and Susan K. Laury (1998) “Theoretical Explanations of Treatment Effects in Voluntary Contributions Experiments,” in Handbook of Experimental Economics Results, edited by C. R. Plott and V. L. Smith, New York: Elsevier Press, forthcoming. Keywords: experiments, public, voluntary contributions, survey, altruism, error, evolution. Abstract This is a survey of the theoretical explanations for the treatments that have been shown to affect voluntary contributions in the laboratory. Email Contact: slaury@gsu.edu, holt@virginia.edu

Laury, Susan K., and Charles A. Holt (1998) “Voluntary Provision of Public Goods: Experimental Results with Interior Nash Equilibria,” in Handbook of Experimental Economics Results, edited by C. R. Plott and V. L. Smith, New York: Elsevier Press, forthcoming. Keywords: Public goods experiments with interior Nash equilibria have been used to separate "boundary effects" from other factors like altruism or spite that may cause contributions to deviate systematically from Nash predictions. Results of public goods experiments with interior Nash equilibria are compared. Email Contact: slaury@gsu.edu

Ledyard, John O. (1995) “Public Goods: A Survey of Experimental Research,” in A Handbook of Experimental Economics, edited by A. Roth and J. Kagel, Princeton: Princeton University Press, 111-194. Keywords: experiments, public, voluntary contributions, survey, mechanisms, altruism, noisy behavior, reciprocity, step-level public goods, gender effects, interior Nash, nonlinear payoffs. Email Contact: jledyard@hss.caltech.edu

Lensberg, Terje, and Eline Van der Heijden (1998) “A Cross-Cultural Study of Reciprocity, Trust and Altruism in a Gift Exchange Experiment,” Tilburg University, Discussion Paper, presented at the Summer 1998 ESA Meeting. Keywords: experiments, markets, trust, reciprocity, altruism, subject pool effects, culture, Norway, Netherlands. Abstract: This a cross cultural study of mutual gift giving in a context where such giving is socially efficient but individually costly. Norwegian subjects give more than Dutch subjects and have more concern for reciprocity. Gifts are higher when information is provided about the previous gift. Email Contact: eline.vanderheijden@kub.nl

Levati, Maria Vittoria (1999) “Rationality, Altruism, Persuasion and their Connection in a Social Dilemma Experiment,” University of York, Discussion Paper, presented at the Spring 1999 Public Choice Meetings. Keywords: experiments, public, voluntary contributions, altruism, social dilemma, game theory. Email Contact: mvl2@york.ac.uk

Levine, David K. (1998) “Modeling Altruism and Spitefulness in Experiments,” Review of Economic Dynamics, I:3 (July),
593-622. Keywords: experiments, public, voluntary contributions, altruism, spite. Email Contact: dlevine@ucla.edu

Marwell, Gerald (1982) “Altruism and the Problem of Collective Action,” in Cooperation and Helping Behavior: Theories and Research, edited by Valerian J. Derlega and Januse Grzelak, New York: Academic Press, . Keywords: experiments, public, voluntary contributions, altruism, cooperation. Email Contact: marwell@ssc.wisc.edu

McKelvey, Richard D., and Thomas R. Palfrey (1992) “An Experimental Study of the Centipede Game,” Econometrica, 60:4 (July), 803-836. Keywords: experiments, game theory, centipede game, backward induction, altruism. Email Contact: rdm@hss.caltech.edu

Morrison, William G., and E. Elisabet Ruström (1999) “Reciprocity and Psychological Equilibria in an Investment Game Experiment with Belief Elicitation,” Discussion Paper, presented at the Summer 1999 ESA Meeting. Keywords: experiments, game theory, reciprocity, trust, psychology, belief elicitation, warm glow altruism. Email Contact: bmorriso@mach1.wlu.ca

Offerman, Theo, Joep Sonnemans, and Arthur Schram (1996) “Value Orientations, Expectations and Voluntary Contributions in Public Goods,” Economic Journal, 106:437 (July), 817-845. Keywords: experiments, public, step-level public good, numbers effects, value orientations, altruism. Abstract: The experiment implements a step-level public good, with variations in the number of players and the value of the public good. Email Contact: theoo@fee.uva.nl

Palfrey, Thomas R., and Howard Rosenthal (1988) “Private Incentives in Social Dilemmas: The Effects of Incomplete Information and Altruism,” Journal of Public Economics, 35:3 (April), 309-332. Keywords: experiments, public, voluntary contributions, altruism, information. Email Contact: trp@hss.caltech.edu

Palfrey, Thomas R., and Jeffrey E. Prisbrey (1996) “Altruism, Reputation and Noise in Linear Public Goods Experiments,” Journal of Public Economics, 61:3 (September), 409-427. Keywords: experiments, public, voluntary contributions, altruism, noise, reputation. Email Contact: trp@hss.caltech.edu

Palfrey, Thomas, and Jeff Prisbrey (1998**) “Anomalous Behavior in Linear Public Goods Experiments: How Much and Why?,” American Economic Review, . Keywords: experiments, public, voluntary contributions, warm glow altruism, noisy behavior.

Peters, H. Elizabeth, Sinan Umir, Jeremy Clark, and William D. Schulze (1999) “Free Riding and the Provision of Public Goods in the Family: An Experimental Test of the Rotten Kid Theorem,” Cornell University, Discussion Paper. Keywords: experiments, public, voluntary contributions, altruism, family members, subject pool effects.

Sadrieh, Abdolkarim (1998) “An Intergenerational Fairness Experiment,” University of Bonn, Discussion Paper, presented at the Fall 1998 ESA Meetings. Keywords: experiments, game theory, altruism. Email Contact: sadrieh@united.econ.uni-bonn.de

Sawyer, Jack (1966) “The Altruism Scale: A Measure of Co-operative, Individualistic, and Competitive Interpersonal Orientation,” American Journal of Sociology, 71407-416. Keywords: experiments, public, altruism, hypothetical incentives, sociology.

Simon, Herbert A. (1993) “Altruism and Economics,” American Economic Review, 83:2 (May), 156-161. Keywords: experiments, decisions, bounded rationality, altruism.

Stewart, Steven, and Michael McKee (1998) “How Warm is Thy Glow? Experimental Tests of Altruism,” University of New Mexico, Discussion Paper, presented at the Fall 1998 ESA Meeting. Keywords: experiments, public, voluntary contributions, altruism, warm glow altruism. Email Contact: sstewar6@utk.edu

Unur, A. Sinan (1998) “Parents' Altruism and Transfers to Children: An Experimental Analysis of Incentives,” Cornell University, Discussion Paper, presented at the Fall 1998 ESA Meeting. Keywords: experiments, public, voluntary contributions, altruism, children subjects. Email Contact: sinan.unur@cornell.edu

van de Kragt, Alphons J. C., Robyn M. Dawes, and John M. Orbell (1988) “Are People Who Cooperate "Rational Altruists?",” Public Choice, 56:3 (March), 233-247. Keywords: experiments, public, voluntary contributions, rational altruism, altruism, cooperation.

Wendt, Dirk (1991) “Altruism in Social Dilemmas: Failure to Catch it in a Parameter,” in Game Equilibrium Models IV: Social and Political Interaction, edited by Reinhard Selten, Berlin: Springer-Verlag, . Keywords: experiments, public, voluntary contributions, social dilemmas, altruism, hypothetical incentives. Email

Zizzo, Daniel (1999) “Cognitive Fairness and Interdependent Preferences in the Short Run: An Experimental Study,” Oxford University, Discussion Paper, presented at the Spring 1999 Public Choice Meetings. Keywords: experiments, public,* altruism, fairness, psychology. Email Contact: daniel.zizzo@hertford.ox.ac.uk