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This paper presents the results of a survey-based experiment on the role of equity and efficiency for altruistic behavior. Using simple binary decisions for a representative pool of subjects, the authors find that both equity and efficiency are relevant for the decision to give. However, contrary to the findings in several laboratory experiments, the results indicate that equity plays a major role for altruistic behavior. Differences in relative payoffs have a significant effect on the decision to give. When giving is not costly, more than half of the subjects prefer equal payoffs to a socially efficient but unequal allocation.
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