Bethany Burum (Harvard University), and Yoeli Erez (Harvard University), A game-theoretic explanation for the quirks of altruism: testing and using the theory, IAST General Seminar, Toulouse: IAST, May 19, 2017, 11:30–12:30, room MF 323.


Why do people give when asked, but actively avoid situations in which they will be asked? Pay relatively little attention to how much good they do with their giving? We will briefly discuss a range of puzzles about altruistic giving and review a game theoretic explanation (discussed last Friday by Moshe Hoffman) for why we give and why our giving has so many puzzling features. Bethany will present data from laboratory experiments demonstrating that we are insensitive to efficacy when giving to strangers but not to family members, and that reputational rewards for giving are relatively insensitive to efficacy. Erez Yoeli will present data from field experiments showing that increased observability can drastically increase contributions to real-world public goods such as blackout prevention and voting.