Implementing Petty Favor in Facilitating Rich-Poor Resource Exchange

Petty favor and rich-poor resource exchange

  • Jiayu Chen Nagoya University
  • Tasuku Igarashi Nagoya University
Keywords: petty favor, rich-poor cooperation, selective play paradigm, structural goal/expectation, bounded generalized reciprocity, public good


Humans seek to select and exchange resources with wealthy partners for greater benefits. In this study, we examined whether implementing the “petty favor” option (giving a small amount of resources to interaction partners prior to resource provision to pooled accounts) from rich to cooperative poor group members facilitates rich-poor selection and cooperation. In total, 216 participants were allocated to the rich group and played a repeated two-person public goods game with selfish rich or cooperative poor partner bots. Participants preferred to use the “petty favor” options on cooperative poor partners and contribute a large amount of resources toward public good. The findings suggest that the provision of petty favors motivates providers to exchange more resources with cooperators beyond the existing rich-poor boundary.

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