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Disentangling the Sources of Pro-social Behavior in the Workplace: A Field Experiment

Mirco Tonin and Michael Vlassopoulos ()

No 2757, CESifo Working Paper Series from CESifo Group Munich

Abstract: This paper presents evidence from a field experiment, which aims to identify the two sources of workers’ pro-social motivation that have been considered in the literature: action-oriented altruism and output-oriented altruism. To this end we employ an experimental design that first measures the level of effort exerted by student workers on a data entry task in an environment that elicits purely selfish behavior and we compare it to effort exerted in an environment that also induces action-oriented altruism. We then compare the latter to effort exerted in an environment where both types of altruistic preferences are elicited. We find that action-oriented altruism accounts for a significant increase in effort, while there is no additional impact due to output-oriented altruism. We also find significant gender-related differences in the treatment effect: women are very responsive to the treatment condition eliciting action-oriented altruism, while men’s behavior is not affected by any of the treatments.

Keywords: pro-social behavior; field experiment; effort; charitable donations (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: C93 D64 J16 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2009
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