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Do people avoid opportunities to donate? A natural field experiment on recycling and charitable giving

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Author Info

  • Knutsson, Mikael

    (Dept of Psychology, University of Gothenburg)

  • Martinsson, Peter

    ()
    (Department of Economics, School of Business, Economics and Law, Göteborg University)

  • Wollbrant, Conny

    ()
    (Department of Economics, School of Business, Economics and Law, Göteborg University)

Abstract

We use a natural field experiment to investigate the hypothesis that generosity is partly involuntary, by examining whether individuals tend to avoid opportunities to act generously. In Sweden, new recycling machines for bottles and cans with an option of donating the returned deposit to charity were gradually introduced in one of the largest store chains. We find a substantial decline in recycling the month these new machines were introduced and a further decline in the following months. These results indicate that individuals avoid opportunities to act generously and corroborate findings from both lab and field studies supporting the claim that generous behavior is partly involuntary

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by University of Gothenburg, Department of Economics in its series Working Papers in Economics with number 542.

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Length: 18 pages
Date of creation: 25 Sep 2012
Date of revision:
Publication status: Published as Knutsson, Mikael, Peter Martinsson and Conny Wollbrant, 'Do people avoid opportunities to donate? A natural field experiment on recycling and charitable giving' in Journal of Economic Behavior and Organization, 2013, pages 71-77.
Handle: RePEc:hhs:gunwpe:0542

Contact details of provider:
Postal: Department of Economics, School of Business, Economics and Law, University of Gothenburg, Box 640, SE 405 30 GÖTEBORG, Sweden
Phone: 031-773 10 00
Web page: http://www.handels.gu.se/econ/
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Keywords: Generosity; Donations; Natural field experiment; Avoidance behavior;

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  1. Juan Camilo Cardenas & Jeffrey Carpenter, 2008. "Behavioural Development Economics: Lessons from Field Labs in the Developing World," Journal of Development Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 44(3), pages 311-338.
  2. James Andreoni & B. Douglas Bernheim, 2007. "Social Image and the 50-50 Norm: A Theoretical and Experimental Analysis of Audience Effects," Discussion Papers 07-030, Stanford Institute for Economic Policy Research.
  3. Stefano DellaVigna & John A. List & Ulrike Malmendier, 2012. "Testing for Altruism and Social Pressure in Charitable Giving," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 127(1), pages 1-56.
  4. Pierpaolo Battigalli & Martin Dufwenberg, 2005. "Dynamic Psychological Games," Levine's Bibliography 784828000000000046, UCLA Department of Economics.
  5. Andreoni, James & Rao, Justin M., 2011. "The power of asking: How communication affects selfishness, empathy, and altruism," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 95(7), pages 513-520.
  6. Hoffman, Elizabeth & McCabe, Kevin & Smith, Vernon L, 1996. "Social Distance and Other-Regarding Behavior in Dictator Games," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 86(3), pages 653-60, June.
  7. Edward P. Lazear & Ulrike Malmendier & Roberto A. Weber, 2012. "Sorting in Experiments with Application to Social Preferences," American Economic Journal: Applied Economics, American Economic Association, vol. 4(1), pages 136-63, January.
  8. repec:feb:framed:0087 is not listed on IDEAS
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