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Strassmair, Christina (October 2009): Can intentions spoil the kindness of a gift? - An experimental study. SFB/TR 15 Discussion Paper No. 302


Consider a situation where person A undertakes acostly action that benefits person B. This behavior seems altruistic. However, if A expects a reward in return from B, then A's action may be motivated by expected rewards rather than by pure altruism. The question we address in this experimental study is how B reacts to A's intentions. We vary the probability that the second mover in a trust game can reciprocate and analyze effects on second mover behavior. Our results suggest that expected rewards do not spoil the perceived kindness of an action and the action's rewards.