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Revealing Altruism

Nancy Folbre and Robert Goodin

Review of Social Economy, 2004, vol. 62, issue 1, 1-25

Abstract: The traditional neoclassical economic view that preferences are “inscrutable” and can only be revealed through behavior would, if true, make it difficult for altruists to make efficient decisions. We question whether altruism should be defined as a preference that can be revealed, or indeed, as a preference at all. One alternative is to treat altruism as a disposition that can be strengthened or weakened by social institutions.

Keywords: altruism as a preference; altruism as a disposition; neoclassical economics; institutions (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2004
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DOI: 10.1080/0034676042000183808

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