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Emotions of Altruism, Envy and Guilt: Experimental Evidence

Moreno, Alejandro and Viianto, Lari and García, Daniel (2019): Emotions of Altruism, Envy and Guilt: Experimental Evidence.

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We run an economic experiment in order to find out the preferences of altruism, envy, and guilt at individual level. We extend Andreoni and Miller’s (2002) series of Dictator Experiments and Fisman et al.’s (2007) graphical experiment in order to have additional and more precise data at individual level. We run 55 graphical dictator games including some with a positive relation between the money the Dictator and the Receiver obtain, in order to estimate individual preferences for envy and guilt. Our program is interactive, as it looks for the regions where individuals´ emotions change from altruist to envy, and altruism to guilt, and changes the form of the budget sets. We find that most individuals show the emotion of altruism when facing other individuals that have similar income as themselves. However, some individuals show the emotion of envy when facing other individuals with much higher payoffs than themselves. More surprisingly, some individuals reveal the emotion of guilt when they have much higher payoffs that other individuals.

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