This paper uses neoclassical economic principles, game theory, and a wide variety of literature to examine whether altruistic giving can be considered rational. I also observe what preferences individuals have for giving as well as derive an overall demand curve for altruism. By conducting two different treatments of a dictator game in which the price of giving is altered, I found that 60 percent of College of Wooster students made choices consistent with the General Axiom of Revealed Preferences (GARP). For those that did display rational behavior, they are predicted to gain utility by maximizing personal wealth, creating equality, or maximizing social welfare. Further, I created a demand curve for altruism that suggests altruism is a very inelastic good.
Cook, Samuel G., "Is Altruistic Behavior Rational? a Test of Garp on Social Preferences" (2012). Senior Independent Study Theses. Paper 771.
Bachelor of Arts
Senior Independent Study Thesis
© Copyright 2012 Samuel G. Cook