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Experimental Evidence of Self-Image Concerns as Motivation for Giving

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  • Tonin, Mirco

    ()
    (University of Southampton)

  • Vlassopoulos, Michael

    ()
    (University of Southampton)

Abstract

We conduct an experiment in which subjects make a series of decisions of allocating an endowment of £10 between themselves and a passive recipient that is either a charity or the experimenter. When making these decisions subjects are informed that one of them will be chosen randomly at the end to determine payoffs. After all decisions have been made and it has been revealed which decision will determine payoffs we offer subjects an opportunity to opt out from their initial decision and receive £10 instead. We find that around one third of subjects choose to opt out. The fact that a subject decides to revise a decision to give and chooses instead to exit and keep the whole amount – an option that was available when she made the first decision and was not exercised – indicates that giving in the first instance was not motivated solely by altruism toward the recipient. We argue that opting out indicates that giving is also motivated by self-image concerns.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA) in its series IZA Discussion Papers with number 6388.

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Length: 16 pages
Date of creation: Feb 2012
Date of revision:
Publication status: published in: Journal of Economic Behavior and Organization, 2013, 90, 19-27
Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp6388

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Keywords: self-image; dictator game; charitable giving; opting-out;

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References

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  1. Tonin, Mirco & Vlassopoulos, Michael, 2011. "An Experimental Investigation of Intrinsic Motivations for Giving," IZA Discussion Papers 5461, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  2. James Andreoni, 2007. "Social Image and the 50-50 Norm: A Theoretical and Experimental Analysis of Audience Effects," Levine's Bibliography 122247000000001459, UCLA Department of Economics.
  3. 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, American Economic Association, vol. 4(1), pages 136-63, January.
  4. Andreoni, James, 1990. "Impure Altruism and Donations to Public Goods: A Theory of Warm-Glow Giving?," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, Royal Economic Society, vol. 100(401), pages 464-77, June.
  5. Andreoni, James, 1989. "Giving with Impure Altruism: Applications to Charity and Ricardian Equivalence," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, University of Chicago Press, vol. 97(6), pages 1447-58, December.
  6. Ellingsen, Tore & Johannesson, Magnus, 2006. "Pride and Prejudice: The Human Side of Incentive Theory," CEPR Discussion Papers, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers 5768, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  7. Ernst Fehr & Klaus M. Schmidt, . "A Theory of Fairness, Competition and Cooperation," IEW - Working Papers 004, Institute for Empirical Research in Economics - University of Zurich.
  8. Lacetera, Nicola & Macis, Mario, 2008. "Social Image Concerns and Pro-Social Behavior," IZA Discussion Papers 3771, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  9. Dan Ariely & Anat Bracha & Stephan Meier, 2009. "Doing Good or Doing Well? Image Motivation and Monetary Incentives in Behaving Prosocially," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, American Economic Association, vol. 99(1), pages 544-55, March.
  10. Stefano DellaVigna & John List & Ulrike Malmendier, 2012. "Testing for altruism and social pressure in charitable giving," Natural Field Experiments 00137, The Field Experiments Website.
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  12. Broberg, Tomas & Ellingsen, Tore & Johannesson, Magnus, 2007. "Is generosity involuntary?," Economics Letters, Elsevier, Elsevier, vol. 94(1), pages 32-37, January.
  13. Bénabou, Roland & Tirole, Jean, 2004. "Incentives and Prosocial Behaviour," CEPR Discussion Papers, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers 4633, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  14. Jacobsen, Karin & H. Eika, Kari & Helland, Leif & Thori Lind, Jo & Nyborg, Karine, 2011. "Are nurses more altruistic than real estate brokers?," Memorandum, Oslo University, Department of Economics 09/2011, Oslo University, Department of Economics.
  15. Grossman, Zachary, 2010. "Self-Signaling Versus Social-Signaling in Giving," University of California at Santa Barbara, Economics Working Paper Series qt7320x2cp, Department of Economics, UC Santa Barbara.
  16. Ellingsen, Tore & Johannesson, Magnus, 2011. "Conspicuous generosity," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, Elsevier, vol. 95(9-10), pages 1131-1143, October.
  17. Ellingsen, Tore & Johannesson, Magnus & Tjøtta, Sigve & Torsvik, Gaute, 2007. "Testing Guilt Aversion," Working Paper Series in Economics and Finance 683, Stockholm School of Economics.
  18. Jaromir Kovarik, 2008. "Giving it now or later: altruism and discounting," Working Papers. Serie AD, Instituto Valenciano de Investigaciones Económicas, S.A. (Ivie) 2008-10, Instituto Valenciano de Investigaciones Económicas, S.A. (Ivie).
  19. Lacetera, Nicola & Macis, Mario, 2010. "Social image concerns and prosocial behavior: Field evidence from a nonlinear incentive scheme," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, Elsevier, vol. 76(2), pages 225-237, November.
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Citations

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Cited by:
  1. Mirco Tonin & Michael Vlassopoulos, 2014. "An experimental investigation of intrinsic motivations for giving," Theory and Decision, Springer, Springer, vol. 76(1), pages 47-67, January.
  2. David Ong & Chun-Lei Yang, 2014. "Pro Bono Work and Trust in Expert Fields," CESifo Working Paper Series 4897, CESifo Group Munich.
  3. Jana Friedrichsen & Dirk Engelmann, 2013. "Who Cares for Social Image? Interactions between Intrinsic Motivation and Social Image Concerns," CESifo Working Paper Series 4514, CESifo Group Munich.

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