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The role of social connections in charitable fundraising: Evidence from a natural field experiment

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  • John List
  • Michael Price

Abstract

The economics literature suggests that enhanced social connection can increase trust amongst agents, which can ultimately lead to more efficient economic outcomes, including increased provision of public goods. This study provides a test of whether social connectedness (proxied via agent similarities in race and gender) influences giving to a charitable fundraiser. Using data gathered from more than 2000 households approached in an actual door-to-door fundraising drive, we find limited evidence of the importance of such social connections. A robust result in the data, however, is that our minority solicitors, whether approaching a majority or minority household, are considerably less likely to obtain a contribution, and conditional on securing a contribution, gift size is lower than their majority counterparts receive.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by The Field Experiments Website in its series Natural Field Experiments with number 00302.

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Date of creation: 2010
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Handle: RePEc:feb:natura:00302

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Citations

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Cited by:
  1. Fong, Christina M. & Luttmer, Erzo F. P., 2009. "Do Race and Fairness Matter in Generosity? Evidence from a Nationally Representative Charity Experiment," Working Paper Series rwp09-014, Harvard University, John F. Kennedy School of Government.
  2. John A. List, 2014. "Using Field Experiments to Change the Template of How We Teach Economics," The Journal of Economic Education, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 45(2), pages 81-89, June.
  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," CESifo Working Paper Series 4531, CESifo Group Munich.
  4. de Oliveira, Angela C.M. & Croson, Rachel T.A. & Eckel, Catherine, 2011. "The giving type: Identifying donors," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 95(5-6), pages 428-435, June.
  5. 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.
  6. Jeffery Flory & Uri Gneezy & Kenneth Leonard & John List, 2012. "Sex, competitiveness, and investment in offspring: On the origin of preferences," Artefactual Field Experiments 00072, The Field Experiments Website.
  7. 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.
  8. Nicole M. Baran & Paola Sapienza & Luigi Zingales, 2010. "Can we infer social preferences from the lab? Evidence from the trust game," NBER Working Papers 15654, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  9. 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.
  10. Fong, Christina M. & Luttmer, Erzo F.P., 2011. "Do fairness and race matter in generosity? Evidence from a nationally representative charity experiment," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 95(5-6), pages 372-394, June.
  11. Klaus Moeltner & James J. Murphy & John K. Stranlund & Maria Alejandra Velez, 2007. "Processing Data from Social Dilemma Experiments: A Bayesian Comparison of Parametric Estimators," Working Papers 07-013, University of Nevada, Reno, Department of Economics & University of Nevada, Reno , Department of Resource Economics.

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