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Morris Altman
''Opening-up the objective function: choice behavior and economic and non-economic variables—core and marginal altruism''
( 2006, Vol. 4 No.33 )
A revised model of the preference function is presented incorporating utility maximizing acts of material self-sacrifice. This model incorporates neoclassical and behavioral arguments, allowing for the stylized fact that economic agents are motivated by both material and non-material incentives. Given such a preference function, choice behavior is modeled as a function of relative opportunity costs (price) and real income. Preferences are determined by a variety of variables inclusive of social capital and education. There is therefore a core preference based upon non-economic variables and a ‘marginal' component which is a function of conventional economic variables. The relative importance of these two components in determinating choice behavior is an empirical question. Building upon conventional tools, a demand curve for moral acts is derived and underlying income and substitution effects discussed. Empirical evidence from the tipping literature is used to illustrate the model.
B4 - Economic Methodology: General
Manuscript Received : Sep 19 2006 Manuscript Accepted : Oct 16 2006

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