Cooperativeness among genetically unrelated humans remains a major puzzle in the social sciences. We explore the causal impact of physical distance on willingness to help. In a ﬁeld setting, participants decide about supporting local refugees at the dispense of money to themselves. We vary physical distance only, and keep other factors such as cultural distance ﬁxed. The data shows that an increase in local physical distance decreases willingness to donate. A laboratory experiment conﬁrms this ﬁnding. We further explore the causal roles of exposure (in the ﬁeld) and of larger distances (in the lab) with a total of 475 participants.
Physical distance and cooperativeness towards strangers
Leonie Kühl and Nora Szech
HCEO Working Paper