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Strategic Ethics: Altruism without the Other-Regarding Confound

Giuseppe Attanasi (), Kene Boun My (), Nikolaos Georgantzís () and Miguel Ginés
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Miguel Ginés: Universitat Jaume I

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Abstract: In a two-stage investment-effort game, we model altruistic investment in another agent's capacity to benefit from synergies between the two agents' efforts. We conduct the theoretical analysis of the game by assuming that agents who invest in others have no direct utility from their giving behavior, i.e., without considering other-regarding preferences. Results of a laboratory experiment confirm our behavioral prediction that, for a low enough investment cost, subjects coordinate on a positive complementarity-building investment, which in turn boosts their effort in the second stage. The latter increases in both own and others' complementarity-building investment, as predicted by our model. All this holds independently of subjects' risk and inequity aversion.

Keywords: complementarity-building investment; strategic complementarities; altruism inequity; aversion risk aversion (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2019
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Published in Revue Economique, Presses de Sciences Po, 2019, 70 (6), pp.967-998. ⟨10.3917/reco.706.0967⟩

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DOI: 10.3917/reco.706.0967

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