JICA Ogata Research Institute


Working Papers

No.132 Altruism or Exchange? Experimental Evidence on the Motives behind Private Transfers in Sri Lanka

This study develops a new approach to the classical question of whether private transfers are motivated by altruism or exchange. We combine artefactual field experiments and standard household survey data, to directly measure the degree of altruism and trust (i.e., exchange) and to analyze their impact on the co-movement of consumption between dyadic pairs of respondents. We find that higher altruism toward lower income partners and their income differentials reduces observed differences in consumption, which supports the altruism hypothesis as a motive for private transfers.

Keywords: Private transfer, altruism, exchange, artefactual field experiment, dyadic data

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