Publication Type

Journal Article

Publication Date

2009

Abstract

We conduct a field experiment in a large real-world social network to examine how subjects expect to be treated by their friends and by strangers who make allocation decisions in modified dictator games. While recipients’ beliefs accurately account for the extent to which friends will choose more generous allocations than strangers (i.e. directed altruism), recipients are not able to anticipate individual differences in the baseline altruism of allocators (measured by giving to an unnamed recipient, which is predictive of generosity towards named recipients). Recipients who are direct friends with the allocator, or even recipients with many common friends, are no more accurate in recognizing intrinsically altruistic allocators. Recipient beliefs are significantly less accurate than the predictions of an econometrician who knows the allocator’s demographic characteristics and social distance, suggesting recipients do not have information on unobservable characteristics of the allocator.

Discipline

Behavioral Economics | Social Media

Research Areas

Applied Microeconomics

Publication

Journal of the European Economic Association

Volume

8

Issue

1

First Page

120

Last Page

138

ISSN

1542-4766

Identifier

10.1162/jeea.2010.8.1.120

Publisher

Wiley Online Library

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.

Additional URL

http://dx.doi.org/10.1162/jeea.2010.8.1.120

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