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Peer effects in charitable giving: Evidence from the (running) fieldAbstract: There is a widespread belief that peer effects are important in charitable giving, but surprisingly little evidence on how donors respond to their peers. We analyse a unique dataset of donations to online fundraising pages to provide evidence on the direction and magnitude of peer effects – we find that a £10 increase in the mean of past donations increases giving by £3.50, on average. We also explore potential explanations for why peers matter. We find no evidence that donations provide a signal of charity quality, nor any role for fundraising targets. Our preferred explanation is that donors benchmark themselves against the distribution of donations from their peers. Length: 37 pages

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  • Sarah Smith
  • Frank Windmeijer
  • Edmund Wright

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File URL: http://www.bristol.ac.uk/cmpo/publications/papers/2012/wp290.pdf
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Paper provided by Department of Economics, University of Bristol, UK in its series The Centre for Market and Public Organisation with number 12/290.

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Handle: RePEc:bri:cmpowp:12/290

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Keywords: charitable giving; peer effects; donations Creation-Date: 2012-06;

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  1. Alpizar, Francisco & Carlsson, Fredrik & Johansson-Stenman, Olof, 2007. "Anonymity, Reciprocity, and Conformity: Evidence from Voluntary Contributions to a National Park in Costa Rica," Working Papers in Economics 245, University of Gothenburg, Department of Economics.
  2. Nickell, Stephen J, 1981. "Biases in Dynamic Models with Fixed Effects," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 49(6), pages 1417-26, November.
  3. Bruce Sacerdote, 2000. "Peer Effects with Random Assignment: Results for Dartmouth Roommates," NBER Working Papers 7469, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. Warr, Peter G., 1982. "Pareto optimal redistribution and private charity," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 19(1), pages 131-138, October.
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