Calamities, Common Interests, Shared Identity: What Shapes Altruism and Reciprocity?
Information on the Covid-19 pandemic increases altruistic behavior and reciprocity towards compatriots, citizens of other EU countries, and non-EU citizens. This is one key result of a large-scale survey experiment conducted in August 2020 by EconPol Europe network members in nine European countries. The study also finds that priming common European values boosts altruism and reciprocity, but only towards compatriots and fellow Europeans. In contrast, priming common economic interests (EU trade) has no tangible impact on behaviour. The survey experiment provides novel evidence on how trust, reciprocity, and altruism are affected by a major health crisis (Covid-19), common economic interests (EU trade) and shared values (EU ideals).
We conduct a large-scale survey experiment in nine European countries to study how priming a major crisis (COVID-19), common economic interests, and a shared identity inﬂuences altruism, reciprocity and trust of EU citizens. We ﬁnd that priming the COVID-19 pandemic increases altruism and reciprocity towards compatriots, citizens of other EU countries, and non-EU citizens. Priming common European values also boosts altruism and reciprocity but only towards compatriots and fellow Europeans.Priming common economic interests has no tangible impact on behaviour. Trust in others is not aﬀected by any treatment. Our results are consistent with the parochial altruism hypothesis, which asserts that because altruism arises out of inter-group conﬂict, humans show a tendency to favor members of their own groups.
Cevat Giray Aksoy, Antonio Cabrales, Mathias Dolls, Ruben Durante, Lisa Windsteiger: "Calamities, Common Interests, Shared Identity: What Shapes Altruism and Reciprocity?", EconPol Working Paper 64, May 2021