(Un)Informed Charitable Giving
AbstractEvidence suggests that donors have little demand for information before giving to charity. To understand this behavior and its policy implications, we present a model in which each individual can acquire costly information about her true value of charity. We observe that an individual who considers giving less is less likely to become informed; and indeed, an uninformed donor is, on average, less generous than an informed one. This implies that since the free-rider problem in giving worsens in a larger population, the percentage of informed givers becomes vanishingly small, leaving the total expected donations strictly below its highest level to be reached by a fully informed population. We show that while a direct government grant to the charity causes severe crowding-out by discouraging information acquisition, a matching grant increases donations by encouraging it. We further show that a “warm-glow” motive for giving does not necessarily weaken incentives to be informed, and that a (first-order) stochastic increase in true values for charity may actually decrease donations.
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Bibliographic InfoPaper provided by Duke University, Department of Economics in its series Working Papers with number 11-26.
Date of creation: 2011
Date of revision:
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Postal: Department of Economics Duke University 213 Social Sciences Building Box 90097 Durham, NC 27708-0097
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Web page: http://econ.duke.edu/
charitable giving; search cost; value of information; crowding-out; warm-glow;
Find related papers by JEL classification:
- H00 - Public Economics - - General - - - General
- H41 - Public Economics - - Publicly Provided Goods - - - Public Goods
- D82 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Asymmetric and Private Information; Mechanism Design
- D83 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Search, Learning, and Information
This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:
- NEP-ALL-2012-05-15 (All new papers)
- NEP-CTA-2012-05-15 (Contract Theory & Applications)
- NEP-MIC-2012-05-15 (Microeconomics)
- NEP-PUB-2012-05-15 (Public Finance)
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