The Economics of Altruism – The Old, the Rich, the Female
This study examines whether certain observed characteristics are associated people’s altruistic feelings and behaviors. The paper utilizes a National Mental Health Survey that gathered questions about respondents’ self-reported altruism along with their demographic, labor force, and income information. The empirical results reveal that (1) older people are more altruistic; (2) higher income people are more altruistic; and (3) women are more altruistic. The results are robust once the potential endogeneity problem of the income variable is eliminated by the use of the instrumental variable estimation method.