nep-evo New Economics Papers
on Evolutionary Economics
Issue of 2008‒07‒14
three papers chosen by
Matthew Baker
City University of New York

  1. Eliciting Motives for Trust and Reciprocity by Attitudinal and Behavioural Measures By Farina, Francesco; O'Higgins, Niall; Sbriglia, Patrizia
  2. On the Nature, Modeling, and Neural Bases of Social Ties By Frans van Winden; Mirre Stallen; K. Richard Ridderinkhof
  3. Blood donations and incentives: evidence from a field experiment By Lorenz Goette; Alois Stutzer

  1. By: Farina, Francesco (University of Siena); O'Higgins, Niall (University of Salerno); Sbriglia, Patrizia (University of Naples II)
    Abstract: Value Surveys may reveal well-behaved societies by the statistical treatment of the agents’ declarations of compliance with social values. Similarly, the results of experiments conducted on games with conflict of interest trace back to two important primitives of social capital – trust and reciprocity – which can be used to explain deviations from the Nash equilibrium and which lead to the optimal cooperative outcome. In this paper we attempt to elicit the true motive(s) underlying the behaviour of players in experimental trust and dictator games and suggest that the most informative utilization of surveys in this regard goes beyond the simple comparison of answers to a questionnaire with actual behaviour. Specifically the paper uses descriptive statistics and ordered probit models to analyse whether, and to what extent, answers to a questionnaire about attitudes to trusting and reciprocating predict subjects’ behaviour and, by comparing behaviour in Trust and Dictator Game, disentangles the strategic and altruistic motivations. We find no simple or direct correlation between behavioural trust or trustworthiness and attitudinal trust or disposition to reciprocate. However, dividing subjects according to attitudinal trust and trustworthiness, we observe that the link between the questionnaire and experimental sessions is more subtle than the mere correlation between average attitudes and average behaviours. The information conveyed by a survey appears to be much more powerful ex post – once the two motivational components have been separated out.
    Keywords: trust, reciprocity, experimental economics, ordered probit
    JEL: C72 C91 D63 D64
    Date: 2008–07
  2. By: Frans van Winden (University of Amsterdam); Mirre Stallen (Erasmus University Rotterdam); K. Richard Ridderinkhof (University of Amsterdam)
    Abstract: This paper addresses the nature, formalization, and neural bases of (affective) social ties and discusses the relevance of ties for health economics. A social tie is defined as an affective weight attached by an individual to the well-being of another individual (‘utility interdependence’). Ties can be positive or negative, and symmetric or asymmetric between individuals. Characteristic of a social tie, as conceived of here, is that it develops over time under the influence of interaction, in contrast with a trait like altruism. Moreover, a tie is not related to strategic behavior such as reputation formation but seen as generated by affective responses. A formalization is presented together with some supportive evidence from behavioral experiments. This is followed by a discussion of related psychological constructs and the presentation of suggestive neural findings, based on the existing literature. We conclude with some suggestions for future research.
    Keywords: Social Ties; Affect; Modeling; Neuroeconomics
    JEL: D01 D64 D87 H41 I10
    Date: 2008–06–24
  3. By: Lorenz Goette; Alois Stutzer
    Abstract: There is a longstanding concern that material incentives might undermine prosocial motivation, leading to a decrease in blood donations rather than an increase. This paper provides an empirical test of how material incentives affect blood donations in a large-scale field experiment spanning three months and involving more than 10,000 previous donors. We examine two types of incentive: a lottery ticket and a free cholesterol test. Lottery tickets significantly increase donations, in particular among less motivated donors. The cholesterol test leads to no discernable impact on usable blood donations. If anything, it creates a small negative selection effect in terms of donations that must be discarded.
    Keywords: Human behavior ; Altruism
    Date: 2008

This nep-evo issue is ©2008 by Matthew Baker. It is provided as is without any express or implied warranty. It may be freely redistributed in whole or in part for any purpose. If distributed in part, please include this notice.
General information on the NEP project can be found at For comments please write to the director of NEP, Marco Novarese at <>. Put “NEP” in the subject, otherwise your mail may be rejected.
NEP’s infrastructure is sponsored by the School of Economics and Finance of Massey University in New Zealand.