Published: 27 January 2021| Version 1 | DOI: 10.17632/k2cftk2kgp.1
Celeste Campher


The ultimatum (UG) and trust (TG) games are implemented alongside the SDT in a group of laboratory and field subjects in order to determine if preferences for giving and social discounting are associated with a set of social subject types. The research investigates associations between altruism, as measured by giving and social discounting, with social subject types uniquely identified in the study based on the strategy method responses of subjects in the UG and TG. The Social Discounting Task (SDT) is used to measure altruism amongst the subject pool. Three measures of altruism are estimated – one measure is at task level (giving) and two measures are at aggregate level. “Giving” is the monetary crossover value estimated as the mean point at which a subject switched from choosing option A (selfish option) to option B (sharing option) for each social distance – and is captured as such in the task-level data set. For instance, if a subject chose the selfish option at R180 and switched to the sharing option at R160, the crossover value was calculated to be R170. For subjects who exclusively chose the selfish option throughout, the crossover value is given as R0, and for subjects who exclusively chose the sharing option, the crossover value is assumed to be R90. An AUC index and k-value are constructed for each subject by making use of the Excel software of Reed, Kaplan and Brewer (2012). AUC varies from 1.0 (no discounting) to 0.0 (complete discounting) (Locey et al., 2011). The two measures of social discounting, i.e. Area under the curve (AUC) and k' are captured in the subject-level data set. The responses of subjects in the UG and TG are used to identify a number of social subject-types in each of the two groups. A comparative analysis of the outcomes for giving and social discounting across these different social subject-types, namely (1) fair; (2) greedy; (3) trustful; (4) egalitarian; (5) reciprocal; and (6) trustworthy is conducted. In short, the paper hypothesizes that individuals who are fair, trusting, egalitarian and reciprocal altruists will behave more altruistically than selfish/greedy individuals, and that levels of altruism will decline as social distance increases. The data also includes the demographic characteristics i.e. age, race; gender; financial situation; and language of the subject pool for the two experimental groups, i.e. Group 1 – UG recipients and TG senders; and Group 2 – UG senders and TG recipients.



Behavioral Economics, Experimental Economics, Economic Psychology