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Doing good with other people’s money: An experiment on people’s (un)willingness to grant others the freedom to choose

Journal article
Authors Fredrik Carlsson
Mitesh Kataria
Elina Lampi
Maria Vittoria Levati
Published in Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics
Volume 71
Pages 79-87
ISSN 2214-8043
Publication year 2017
Published at Department of Economics
Pages 79-87
Language en
Keywords Allocation decisions, Charitable giving, Social preferences, Freedom of choice.
Subject categories Economics


We augment a standard allocation experiment to investigate whether, and to what extent, individuals are willing to limit others’ choices and change their own choices concerning an environmental project when they are given responsibility for others’ decisions. We observe the allocator's own donation, the donation he chooses for his group (including himself), and the minimum donation he requires the other group members to make. We find that donations dictated to the whole group are, on average, lower than individual donations and consistent with the allocator's beliefs about what the other group members donate. Additionally, we observe that most allocators force the others to donate a positive, though low, amount. Thus, unlimited freedom of choice is rejected by the majority of the participants.

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