Generosity and Wealth: Experimental Evidence from Bogota Stratification

M. Blanco, Patricio Dalton

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This paper combines laboratory experiments with a unique feature of the city of Bogota to uncover the relationship between generosity and wealth. Bogota is divided by law into six socio-economic strata which are close proxies of household wealth and income. We recruit subjects from different strata and run a series of double-blind dictator games where the recipient is the NGO Techo-Colombia, which builds transitional housing for homeless families. We identify the stratum of each subject anonymously and blindly, and match their donations with their stratum. In a first experiment we provide a fixed endowment to all participants and nd that donations are significantly increasing with wealth. However, in a second experiment, we show that this is not because the rich are
intrinsically more generous, but because the experimental endowment has lower real value for them. With endowments that are equivalent to their daily expenditures, the rich, the middle-class and the poor give a similar proportion of their stratum-equivalent endowment. Moreover, we find that the motivation to donate is similar across strata, where the generosity act is explained mainly by warm-glow rather than pure altruism.
Original languageEnglish
Place of PublicationTilburg
PublisherCentER, Center for Economic Research
Number of pages41
Publication statusPublished - 5 Nov 2019

Publication series

NameCentER Discussion Paper


  • charitable giving
  • social stratification
  • inequality
  • social preferences
  • dictator game


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