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The ABCs of charitable solicitation

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  • Meer, Jonathan
  • Rosen, Harvey S.

Abstract

We estimate the effect of a marginal personal solicitation after receiving two to four non-personal solicitations using observational data on alumni giving at an anonymous research university, which we refer to as Anon U. At Anon U, volunteers use lists provided by the Development Office to telephone classmates and solicit them for donations. The names on these lists are always in alphabetical order. The volunteers who do the soliciting often run out of time before they reach the end of their lists. These observations suggest a simple strategy for testing whether personal solicitation matters, viz., examine whether alumni with names toward the end of the alphabet are less likely to give than alumni with names toward the beginning, ceteris paribus. If so, then a marginal personal solicitation matters. Our main finding is that the location in the alphabet -- and hence, a marginal personal solicitation -- has a strong effect on the probability of making a gift. A rough estimate of the elasticity of the probability of giving with respect to the probability of receiving a personal solicitation is 0.15. However, there is no statistically discernible effect on the amount given, conditional on donating.

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Journal of Public Economics.

Volume (Year): 95 (2011)
Issue (Month): 5-6 (June)
Pages: 363-371

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Handle: RePEc:eee:pubeco:v:95:y:2011:i:5-6:p:363-371

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Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/inca/505578

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Keywords: Altruism Charitable solicitation;

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References

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  1. Craig E. Landry & Andreas Lange & John A. List & Michael K. Price & Nicholas G. Rupp, 2006. "Toward an Understanding of the Economics of Charity: Evidence from a Field Experiment," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 121(2), pages 747-782, May.
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Citations

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Cited by:
  1. Adam Fremeth & Brian Kelleher Richter & Brandon Schaufele, 2013. "Campaign Contributions over CEOs' Careers," American Economic Journal: Applied Economics, American Economic Association, vol. 5(3), pages 170-88, July.
  2. Jonathan Meer, 2009. "Brother Can You Spare a Dime? Peer Effects in Charitable Solicitation," Discussion Papers 08-035, Stanford Institute for Economic Policy Research.
  3. James T. Edwards & John A. List, 2013. "Toward an Understanding of why Suggestions Work in Charitable Fundraising: Theory and Evidence from a Natural Field Experiment," NBER Working Papers 19665, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. Ugur, Z.B., 2013. "From headscarves to donation: Three essays on the economics of gender, health and happiness," Open Access publications from Tilburg University urn:nbn:nl:ui:12-5927864, Tilburg University.
  5. David Fielding & Stephen Knowles, 2013. "Can You Spare Some Change For Charity? Experimental Evidence On Verbal Cues And Loose Change Effects In A Dictator Game," Working Papers 1318, University of Otago, Department of Economics, revised Nov 2013.
  6. Diane Reyniers & Richa Bhalla, 2013. "Reluctant altruism and peer pressure in charitable giving," Judgment and Decision Making, Society for Judgment and Decision Making, vol. 8(1), pages 7-15, January.
  7. Bariş K. Yörük, 2006. "How Responsive are Charitable Donors to Requests to Give?," Boston College Working Papers in Economics 653, Boston College Department of Economics.
  8. Baris K. Yörük, 2009. "The Effect of Media on Charitable Giving and Volunteering: Evidence from the `Give Five' Campaign," Discussion Papers 09-02, University at Albany, SUNY, Department of Economics.
  9. Barış Yörük, 2012. "Do fundraisers select charitable donors based on gender and race? Evidence from survey data," Journal of Population Economics, Springer, vol. 25(1), pages 219-243, January.
  10. Petrie, Ragan & Jacobson, Sarah, 2013. "Favor Trading in Public Good Provision," Department of Economics Working Papers 2013-03, Department of Economics, Williams College.
  11. Huseyin Yildirim & Alvaro Name Correa, 2011. "A Theory of Charitable Fund-Raising with Costly Solicitations," Levine's Working Paper Archive 786969000000000222, David K. Levine.
  12. Meer, Jonathan, 2011. "Brother, can you spare a dime? Peer pressure in charitable solicitation," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 95(7-8), pages 926-941, August.

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