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Individual Preferences for Giving

  • Author(s): Fisman, Raymond J
  • Kariv, Shachar
  • Markovits, Daniel
  • et al.
Abstract

This paper reports an experimental test of individual preferences for giving. We use graphical representations of modified Dictator Games that vary the price of giving. This generates a very rich data set well-suited to studying behavior at the level of the individual subject. We test the data for consistency with preference maximization, and we recover underlying preferences and forecast behavior using both nonparametric and parametric methods. Our results emphasize that classical demand theory can account surprisingly well for behaviors observed in the laboratory and that individual preferences for giving are highly heterogeneous, ranging from utilitarian to Rawlsian to perfectly selfish.

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