World Views and Altruistic Economic Behavior

Masao Ogaki, Ohio State University

We investigate whether and how world views affect altruistic economic behavior of individuals within and across families. The standard economic model assumes that all agents share the same world view of Naturalism, in which it is believed that there exists no after-life or no spiritual being who may reward altruistic behavior. In reality, people have different world views, and some people believe that heaven and hell exist, for example. It is also likely that some people are attaching positive probabilities to different world views, because they are not perfectly sure which world view is true. Different world views can affect altruistic economic behavior. We use data from the PSID on intra- and inter-family transfers of time, goods, and money to investigate predictions of how different world views affect altruistic behavior.

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Presented in Session 113: Religion, Religiosity and Family Behavior