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Near and Generous? Gift Propensity and Chosen Emotional Distance

Kari H. Eika ()
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Kari H. Eika: Ministry of Health and Care Services, Postal: Ministry of Health and Care Services, PO Box 8011 Dep 0030 Oslo - NORWAY

No 06/2011, Memorandum from Oslo University, Department of Economics

Abstract: This experimental study asks whether generosity decreases emotional distance, a question pertinent to human service quality. Highly vulnerable service recipients may not enforce quality standards. Quality can then be viewed as an act of generosity, a gift from the provider to the recipient. For a human service provider that sympathizes with the recipient, delivering poor quality is psychologically costly. To reduce this cost she may increase emotional distance. Since human service quality presupposes social interaction and involvement, quality is reduced further. The mechanism – which can account for vicious and virtuous circles in the provision of quality – is explored in a binary dictator game where the recipients pay-off is uncertain. The dictator decides whether to know the recipients pay-off and how. Subjects are more eager to inquire about their recipients pay-off when they themselves have been generous, and to do so by contacting the recipient when the recipient correctly perceives that action to be kind.

Keywords: human services; emotional distance; cognitive dissonance; generosity; dictator game (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: C90 D03 D23 D64 I11 I21 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Pages: 33 pages
Date: 2010-07-10
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-cbe, nep-evo, nep-exp, nep-neu and nep-soc
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Persistent link: https://EconPapers.repec.org/RePEc:hhs:osloec:2011_006

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