../Morning Post
Posted February 8, 2011

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Altruism

Carleton Professor Ingela Alger Receives Research Achievement Award for Research on Altruism

Ottawa – Some people are more altruistic than others. Carleton Economics Professor Ingela Alger is launching a new research study to determine whether cross-cultural differences in altruistic behaviour may result from differences in the environments in which populations evolved.

Alger is one of 10 recipients of this year’s Carleton Research Achievement Awards. The other nine are being announced during Carleton’s Research Days celebration running through Feb. 11. These awards honour Carleton researchers for innovative work that helps solve real-world problems.

“The standard assumption in economics is to assume that people care solely about maximizing their own material welfare,” says Alger. “While people may be selfish that way in certain situations, it just isn’t true that they always are. How altruistic are people, and what determines how altruistic they are, is the focus of my research.”

Alger’s new study will build on previous research developed with Jörgen Weibull from the Stockholm School of Economics that focuses on the evolution of altruism within the family.

She will use the $15,000 from her award to pinpoint factors that affect levels of altruism, in the hopes of enhancing our understanding of how cross-cultural differences may emerge and persist.

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