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Do fairness and race matter in generosity? Evidence from a nationally representative charity experiment

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  • Fong, Christina M.
  • Luttmer, Erzo F.P.

Abstract

We present a dictator game experiment where the recipients are local charities that serve the poor. Donors consist of approximately 1000 participants from a nationally representative sample. We manipulate the perceived worthiness and race of the charities' recipients with an audiovisual presentation. Respondents then decide how much to give to the charities and report their perceptions of recipient worthiness and racial composition. We have four main findings. First, treatments describing recipients as worthy significantly increase giving. Second, the treatment where respondents viewed photos mostly of the black recipients rather than white recipients had no significant effect on giving, even though it successfully manipulated perceptions of racial composition. Third, we find significant racial bias in perceptions of worthiness; the black picture treatment lowers perceived recipient worthiness significantly more among non-black respondents than among black respondents. Finally, we decompose the reduced-form effect of the black picture treatment on giving into two channels: one operating via perceptions of recipient worthiness and one running through perceptions of recipient racial composition. The worthiness perceptions channel is statistically significant, while the race perceptions channel is not. Thus, racially biased worthiness perceptions have a significant effect on giving but this effect is not strong enough to cause a significant reduced-form effect of the black picture treatment on giving.

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Bibliographic Info

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

Volume (Year): 95 (2011)
Issue (Month): 5 ()
Pages: 372-394

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Handle: RePEc:eee:pubeco:v:95:y:2011:i:5:p:372-394

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

Related research

Keywords: Charitable giving; Dictator games; Fairness; Altruism; Discrimination; Racial bias; Racial group loyalty; Artefactual field experiments;

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Citations

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Cited by:
  1. Jonathan Meer & Oren Rigbi, 2012. "Transactions Costs and Social Distance in Philanthropy: Evidence from a Field Experiment," Working Papers 1205, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, Department of Economics.
  2. Neher, Frank, 2012. "Preferences for Redistribution around the World," Working Papers 26/2012, Universidade Portucalense, Centro de Investigação em Gestão e Economia (CIGE).
  3. Griffin, John & Nickerson, David & Wozniak, Abigail, 2011. "Racial Differences in Inequality Aversion: Evidence from Real World Respondents in the Ultimatum Game," IZA Discussion Papers 5569, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  4. Ruben Durante & Louis Putterman & Joël van der Weele, 2013. "Preferences for Redistribution and Perception of Fairness: An Experimental Study," Working Papers 2013-7, Brown University, Department of Economics.
  5. James Andreoni & Abigail Payne & Justin Smith & David Karp, . "Diversity and Donations: The Effect of Religious and Ethnic Diversity on Charitable GivingAbstract: Using 10-year neighborhood-level panels derived from personal tax records in Canada, we find that lo," The Centre for Market and Public Organisation 12/289, Department of Economics, University of Bristol, UK.
  6. Stephen Knowles & Maroš Servátka, 2014. "Transaction Costs, the Opportunity Cost of Time and Inertia in Charitable Giving," Working Papers in Economics 14/05, University of Canterbury, Department of Economics and Finance.
  7. Janky, Béla & Varga, Dániel, 2013. "The poverty-assistance paradox," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 120(3), pages 447-449.
  8. Zizzo, Daniel John, 2013. "Claims and confounds in economic experiments," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 93(C), pages 186-195.
  9. Neher, Frank, 2012. "Preferences for redistribution around the world," Discussion Papers 2012/2, Free University Berlin, School of Business & Economics.
  10. Daniel John Zizzo, 2011. "Do dictator games measure altruism?," Working Paper series, University of East Anglia, Centre for Behavioural and Experimental Social Science (CBESS) 12-03, School of Economics, University of East Anglia, Norwich, UK..

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