The present paper draws on data collected through a Traveler's Dilemma experiment where the possibility of consuming relational goods is introduced by allowing (or forcing) agents to meet after the experiment. It enriches the literature on social distance by comparing the effect of its reduction when it is a voluntary subject's choice and when it is compulsory. We show that the existing interpretations of the effect of social distance reduction cannot explain the differences in agents’ behavior across our experimental treatments. This allows us to give to the theory of social distance an original interpretation based on the concept of relational goods where the possibility to consume relational goods promotes non-selfish behavior.
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