Mutual Interest, Self-enforcing Constitutions and Apparent Generosity

  • Alessandro Cigno
  • Furio C. Rosati
Part of the International Economic Association Series book series (IEA)


We say that a person is an altruist if all they obtain doing something for others is the pleasure of making those others happy. We do not call it altruism, however, when a person expects a reward for doing something (or fears punishment for not doing it). If the link between giving and taking is direct and explicit, we speak of exchange. But, very often in human relations, the link between giving and taking is implicit and unspoken, and the quid pro quo so distant and indirect that what one does for others has all the appearance of a gift, or a free service.


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Copyright information

© International Economic Association 2000

Authors and Affiliations

  • Alessandro Cigno
    • 1
  • Furio C. Rosati
    • 2
  1. 1.University of FlorenceItaly
  2. 2.University of Rome ‘Tor Vergata’Italy

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