Altruism and information


Experimental literature has accumulated evidence on the association of social identity to a higher or lower level of prosocial behavior. There is also evidence that donations are affected by the mere provision of information about the recipients, whatever its nature or content. In this paper, we present a unified experimental framework (within-subjects) to analyze the impact of different information sets (that concern social class, political orientation or gender) on the level of giving; our experimental design allows us to reveal the effect of three information sets, with respect to the baseline treatment of no information, and separately from the effect of the informational content. A between-subjects replication in M-Turk provides results in the same direction, although the treatment effects are much weaker. These results could be relevant to any design intended to measure the impact on altruism of different dimensions of social identity.

Keywords: altruism, dictator game