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Most prosocial decisions involve intertemporal tradeoffs. Yet, the timing of prosocial utility flows is ambiguous and bypassed by most models of other-regarding preferences. We study the behavioral implications of the time structure of prosocial utility, leveraging a conceptual distinction between consequence-dated and choice-dated utility flows. We conduct a high-stakes donation experiment that comprehensively characterizes discounting behavior in self-other tradeoffs and allows us to identify different prosocialmotives fromtheir distinct time profiles. Our data can only be explained by a combination of choice- and consequencedated prosocial utility. Both motives are pervasive and negatively correlated at the individual level.
|American Economic Journal: Microeconomics
|Udgivet - feb. 2024