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Open Access Publications from the University of California

On Altruists and Egoists in Activity Participation and Travel: Who are they and do they live together?


Formulation and specification of activity analysis models require better understanding of time allocation behavior that goes beyond the more recent within household analyses to understand selfish and altruistic behavior and how this relates to travel behavior. Using data from 1471 persons in a recent two-day time use/activity diary and latent class cluster analysis we identify eleven distinct daily behaviors that span from the intensely self-serving to intensely altruistic. Predicted cluster membership is then used to study within household interactions. The analysis shows strong correlation exists between social role and patterns of altruistic behavior. However, a substantial amount of heterogeneity is also found within social roles. In addition, travel behavior is also very different among altruistic and self-serving time allocation groups. At the household level, a substantial number of households contain persons with similar behavior. Another group of households contains a mix of self-serving and altruistic persons that follow specialized household roles within their households. The majority of households, however, are populated by altruistic persons. Single person households are more likely to be in the self-serving groups but not in their entirety. Altruism at home is directed most often toward the immediate family members. This is less pronounced when we examine altruistic acts outside the home.

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