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Matching and Challenge Gifts to Charity: Evidence from Laboratory and Natural Field Experiments

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  • Rondeau, Daniel

    ()
    (University of Victoria)

  • List, John A.

    ()
    (University of Chicago)

Abstract

This study designs a natural field experiment linked to a controlled laboratory experiment to examine the effectiveness of matching gifts and challenge gifts, two popular strategies used to secure a portion of the $200 billion annually given to charities. We find evidence that challenge gifts positively influence contributions in the field, but matching gifts do not. Methodologically, we find important similarities and dissimilarities between behavior in the lab and the field. Overall, our results have clear implications for fundraisers and provide avenues for future empirical and theoretical work on charitable giving.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA) in its series IZA Discussion Papers with number 3278.

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Length: 31 pages
Date of creation: Jan 2008
Date of revision:
Publication status: published in: Experimental Economics, 2008, 11(3), 253-267
Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp3278

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Keywords: field experiments; charitable giving; threshold public goods; fundraising;

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References

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  1. John List & David Lucking-Reiley, 2002. "The effects of seed money and refunds on charitable giving: Experimental evidence from a university capital campaign," Natural Field Experiments 00301, The Field Experiments Website.
  2. Stephan Meier, 2006. "Do subsidies increase charitable giving in the long run?: matching donations in a field experiment," Working Papers 06-18, Federal Reserve Bank of Boston.
  3. Dean Karlan & John A. List, 2006. "Does Price Matter in Charitable Giving? Evidence From a Large-Scale Natural Field Experiment," NBER Working Papers 12338, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. James Andreoni, 2006. "Leadership Giving in Charitable Fund-Raising," Journal of Public Economic Theory, Association for Public Economic Theory, vol. 8(1), pages 1-22, 01.
  5. Glenn Harrison & John List, 2004. "Field experiments," Artefactual Field Experiments 00058, The Field Experiments Website.
  6. List, John A. & Rondeau, Daniel, 2003. "The impact of challenge gifts on charitable giving: an experimental investigation," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 79(2), pages 153-159, May.
  7. John A. List, 2007. "Field Experiments: A Bridge Between Lab and Naturally-Occurring Data," NBER Working Papers 12992, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  8. Eckel, Catherine C. & Grossman, Philip J., 2003. "Rebate versus matching: does how we subsidize charitable contributions matter?," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 87(3-4), pages 681-701, March.
  9. Armin Falk, 2007. "Gift Exchange in the Field," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 75(5), pages 1501-1511, 09.
  10. Rondeau, Daniel & Schulze, William D. & Poe, Gregory L., 1997. "Voluntary Revelation Of The Demand For Public Goods Using A Provision Point Mechanism," Working Papers 7265, Cornell University, Department of Applied Economics and Management.
  11. Craig E. Landry & Andreas Lange & John A. List & Michael K. Price & Nicholas G. Rupp, 2006. "Toward an Understanding of the Economics of Charity: Evidence from a Field Experiment," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 121(2), pages 747-782, May.
  12. Cadsby, Charles Bram & Maynes, Elizabeth, 1999. "Voluntary provision of threshold public goods with continuous contributions: experimental evidence," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 71(1), pages 53-73, January.
  13. Bruno S. Frey & Stephan Meier, 2004. "Social Comparisons and Pro-social Behavior: Testing "Conditional Cooperation" in a Field Experiment," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 94(5), pages 1717-1722, December.
  14. Randolph, William C, 1995. "Dynamic Income, Progressive Taxes, and the Timing of Charitable Contributions," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 103(4), pages 709-38, August.
  15. Vesterlund, Lise, 2003. "The informational value of sequential fundraising," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 87(3-4), pages 627-657, March.
  16. Steven D. Levitt & John A. List, 2007. "What Do Laboratory Experiments Measuring Social Preferences Reveal About the Real World?," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 21(2), pages 153-174, Spring.
  17. Gerald E. Auten & Holger Sieg & Charles T. Clotfelter, 2002. "Charitable Giving, Income, and Taxes: An Analysis of Panel Data," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 92(1), pages 371-382, March.
  18. Rondeau, Daniel & Poe, Gregory L. & Schulze, William D., 2005. "VCM or PPM? A comparison of the performance of two voluntary public goods mechanisms," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 89(8), pages 1581-1592, August.
  19. John List & Imran Rasul, 2010. "Field experiments in labor economics," Artefactual Field Experiments 00092, The Field Experiments Website.
  20. Bagnoli, Mark & Lipman, Barton L, 1989. "Provision of Public Goods: Fully Implementing the Core through Private Contributions," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 56(4), pages 583-601, October.
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