Munich Personal RePEc Archive

Exposure to the Covid-19 pandemic and generosity

Brañas-Garza, Pablo and Jorrat, Diego and Alfonso-Costillo, Antonio and Espín, Antonio M. and Garcia, Teresa and Kovářík, Jaromír (2020): Exposure to the Covid-19 pandemic and generosity.

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Abstract

We report data from an online experiment, which allow us to study whether generosity has changed during the early Covid-19 pandemic. We have gathered data from Spanish participants over a six-day period in which Covid-19-associated deaths in Spain, one of the most affected countries, increased fourfold. In our experiment, participants could donate a fraction of a €100 prize to a charity. Our data are particularly rich in the age distribution and we complement them with daily public information about the Covid-19-related deaths, infections, and hospital admissions. We find that donations decreased in the period under study and scale down with the public information about the life and health impact of the pandemic. The effect is particularly pronounced among older subjects. Our analysis of the mechanisms behind the detected decrease in solidarity highlights the key—but independent—role of expectations about others’ behavior, perceived mortality risk, and (alarming) information in behavioral adaptation.

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