Imagine participating in a study in which you and one other person are each given 10 dollars. The researchers inform you that it is your job to decide whether the other person – who is completely anonymous and will remain that way – leaves the experiment with $6, $8, $10, $12, or $14. No matter what you choose, your $10 allotment stays as is. What would you do? Would you have this person keep the initial $10, or would you choose to increase, or decrease, their allotment?
This was the focus of a new article appearing in the Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics. A group of researchers led by Aurora Garcia-Gallego of the Universitat Jaume I in Castellón, Spain posed this question to 252 Spanish students to explore the nature of economic generosity. They found that 50% of people maximized others’ payouts (that is, offered $14) while the remaining 50% were less generous, but to varying degrees. Full story.