James Andreoni, Justin M Rao, 16 December 2010

At a time when many people are asking themselves what to give their friends and family for Christmas, this column asks why we bother to give anything at all. In the economic laboratory, subjects exhibit significant levels of altruistic giving and aversion to unfairness. Outside the laboratory however, we encounter vast amounts of poverty and inequality and yet only give a tiny fraction of our income to charity.

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