Thinking Fast and Slow: Generosity Over Time

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Event Type: 
Seminar Series
Date and Time: 
Monday, August 29, 2016
2:00 pm – 3:30 pm
Judd Benjamin Kessler
University of Pennsylvania

 Is prosocial behavior instinctive or a result of reasoned deliberation? In this project, we bring a new experimental method to the ongoing debate on this topic in order to more accurately observe both intuitive and deliberate choices. We find that rather than being intuitively selfish or intuitively generous, individuals become more selfish or more generous over time as a function of their opportunities for generosity. In particular, subjects in our experiment become either more or less generous over time depending on the efficiency of the generous act available to them. This result suggests that dual-self models with strict predictions that individuals become more selfish or more generous over time may not be appropriate for explaining generosity, and previous results in support of such strict prediction may be artifacts of the their experimental designs.