Title: On the economic relevance of the principle of gratuitousness

Authors: Sergio Beraldo

Addresses: Department of Economics and Statistics, University of Napoli 'Federico II' and CSEF, Via Cintia, Monte Sant'Angelo, 80126 Napoli, Italy

Abstract: In this paper, the principle of gratuitousness and its relationships with other principles which motivate behaviour, such as those inspired by reciprocity, is analysed. The basic premise is that gratuitousness is a feature acquired by an action by virtue of the intentions that inspire the action itself. In this respect, the search for gratuitousness may require to discriminate among aestetically equivalent actions on the basis of the psychological disposition of the actor. The main claim of the paper is that in economically relevant situations gratuituousness is to be conceived as a modality of cooperation, emerging as the outcome of a team reasoning perspective and motivating such a perspective without any need for reciprocity. This claim is analysed with regard to blood donations and, more generally, with regard to the voluntary provision of goods.

Keywords: gratuituousness; reciprocity; team reasoning; behaviour; motivation; cooperation; blood donation; voluntary provision.

DOI: 10.1504/IJHD.2015.072188

International Journal of Happiness and Development, 2015 Vol.2 No.3, pp.204 - 215

Published online: 02 Oct 2015 *

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