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Whats in a name? Racial identity and altruism in post-apartheid South Africa

W van der Merwe and Justine Burns
Publication date
August 2008
This paper reports the results of an economic experiment which was designed to test the effect of racial identity on generosity in a non-strategic setting. A sample of undergraduate University students was recruited to participate in a Dictator game, where surnames of individuals were revealed to convey information about racial identity. Results indicate that compared to a set of control experiments where participant identity was kept anonymous, revealing racial identity has a significant and positive impact on the size of the offers made. However, while Black participants did not vary their offers based on the racial identity of their partners, White participants were more generous towards White partners than Black partners, exhibiting insider favouritism in their offers.
Publication PDF
Series title
Working Paper 091
2008, South African Journal of Economics, 76(2), 1-10