Calamity, Aid and Indirect Reciprocity: the Long Run Impact of Tsunami on Altruism

Becchetti LeonardoCastriota Stefano
CEIS Research Paper
Natural disasters have been shown to produce effects on social capital, risk and time preferences of victims. We run experiments on altruistic, time and risk preferences on a sample of Sri Lankan microfinance borrowers affected/unaffected by the tsunami shock in 2004 at a 7-year distance from the event (a distance longer than in most empirical studies). We find that people who suffered at least a damage from the event behave in dictator games less altruistically as senders (and expect less as receivers) than those who do not report any damage. Interestingly, among damaged, those who suffered also house damages or injuries send (expect) more than those reporting only losses to the economic activity. Since the former are shown to receive significantly more help than the latter we interpret this last finding as a form of indirect reciprocity.
Number: 239
Keywords: tsunami, disaster recovery, social preferences, altruism, development aid
JEL codes: C90, D03, O12
Date: Friday, July 6, 2012
Revision Date: Friday, July 6, 2012