This paper identifies when other-regarding preferences (ORPs) such as trust, reciprocity and altruism will likely arise. We experimentally examine the influence of social distance and communication on ORPs in four countries. We demonstrate that country of origin significantly influences ORPs, but also find mixed support for the relationship between ORPs and social distance; increasing social distance has the expected negative effect in the individually oriented U.S., but its effects internationally are different. This interaction is explained by an individual's cultural orientation. Finally, we show strong evidence that personal but irrelevant communication significantly increases ORPs.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
The financial support of the Russell Sage Behavioral Economics Roundtable is gratefully acknowledged. We thank Professors Bingfu Chen, Wujin Chu, Barbara Kahn, and Hotaka Katahira, and their graduate assistants for their generous assistance in running the experiments included in this paper. Thanks also to participants in the Wharton Decision Processes Brown Bag Seminar, the Economic Science Association and Society for Judgment and Decision Making Meetings, and especially to Iris Bohnet, James Cox, and Catherine Eckel for their comments and feedback.
- Social distance