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The Price of Warm Glow

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  • Lilley, Andrew

    (University of Sydney)

  • Slonim, Robert

    ()
    (University of Sydney)

Abstract

This paper presents a model and experimental evidence to explain the "volunteering puzzle" where agents prefer volunteering time to donating money when monetary donations are, ceteris paribus, more efficient for providing resources to charity. In the model agents receive heterogeneous utility from pure and impure altruism (Andreoni 1989) that permits warm glow to vary between monetary donations and volunteering, thus allowing preferences for impure altruism to rationalize inefficient allocation decisions. We define a measure of the price of impure altruism as the additional proportion of income sacrificed by a donor to give in the dimension that maximizes her utility, holding the overall charitable contribution constant. To test the predictions of the model we ran an experiment in which we varied within-subjects the costs and benefits of monetary and volunteer donations. We also primed between-subjects the emphasis on the donation value to the charity (pure altruism) or the sacrifice to the donor (impure warm-glow altruism). Consistent with the model's predictions, the experiment shows that priming pure altruism increases the efficiency of donation choices, substitutability of donations between money and time and crowding out. Nonetheless, while greater impurity results in a more inefficient allocation of resources, empirically we find it increases overall charitable donations. We discuss the implications of our experimental results for both theory and policy.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA) in its series IZA Discussion Papers with number 7445.

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Length: 46 pages
Date of creation: Jun 2013
Date of revision:
Publication status: forthcoming in: Journal of Public Economics, 2014
Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp7445

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Related research

Keywords: monetary donations; volunteering; warm glow; altruism; laboratory experiments;

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References

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  1. Dan Ariely & Anat Bracha & Stephan Meier, 2007. "Doing good or doing well? Image motivation and monetary incentives in behaving prosocially," Working Papers 07-9, Federal Reserve Bank of Boston.
  2. Becker, Gary S, 1974. "A Theory of Social Interactions," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 82(6), pages 1063-93, Nov.-Dec..
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  4. James Andreoni & A. Abigail Payne, 2010. "Is Crowding Out Due Entirely to Fundraising? Evidence from a Panel of Charities," NBER Working Papers 16372, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. Freeman, Richard Barry, 1997. "Working for Nothing: The Supply of Volunteer Labor," Scholarly Articles 4632239, Harvard University Department of Economics.
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  7. Carpenter, Jeffrey & Myers, Caitlin Knowles, 2010. "Why volunteer? Evidence on the role of altruism, image, and incentives," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 94(11-12), pages 911-920, December.
  8. Andreoni, James, 1993. "An Experimental Test of the Public-Goods Crowding-Out Hypothesis," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 83(5), pages 1317-27, December.
  9. Thomas K. Bauer & Julia Bredtmann & Christoph M. Schmidt, 2012. "Time vs. Money – The Supply of Voluntary Labor and Charitable Donations across Europe," Ruhr Economic Papers 0349, Rheinisch-Westfälisches Institut für Wirtschaftsforschung, Ruhr-Universität Bochum, Universität Dortmund, Universität Duisburg-Essen.
  10. Andreoni, James, 1989. "Giving with Impure Altruism: Applications to Charity and Ricardian Equivalence," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 97(6), pages 1447-58, December.
  11. Smith, Adam, 1759. "The Theory of Moral Sentiments," History of Economic Thought Books, McMaster University Archive for the History of Economic Thought, number smith1759.
  12. Duncan, Brian, 1999. "Modeling charitable contributions of time and money," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 72(2), pages 213-242, May.
  13. Alexander L. Brown & Jonathan Meer & J. Forrest Williams, 2013. "Why Do People Volunteer? An Experimental Analysis of Preferences for Time Donations," NBER Working Papers 19066, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  14. Andreoni, James, 1990. "Impure Altruism and Donations to Public Goods: A Theory of Warm-Glow Giving?," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 100(401), pages 464-77, June.
  15. Brown, Eleanor & Lankford, Hamilton, 1992. "Gifts of money and gifts of time estimating the effects of tax prices and available time," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 47(3), pages 321-341, April.
  16. Femida Handy & Eliakim Katz, 2008. "Donating behavior: if time is money, which to give? A preliminary analysis," Journal of Economic Studies, Emerald Group Publishing, vol. 35(4), pages 323-332, July.
  17. Tonin, Mirco & Vlassopoulos, Michael, 2010. "Disentangling the sources of pro-socially motivated effort: A field experiment," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 94(11-12), pages 1086-1092, December.
  18. James Andreoni & A. Abigail Payne, 2003. "Do Government Grants to Private Charities Crowd Out Giving or Fund-raising?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 93(3), pages 792-812, June.
  19. Null, C., 2011. "Warm glow, information, and inefficient charitable giving," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 95(5-6), pages 455-465, June.
  20. Menchik, Paul L. & Weisbrod, Burton A., 1987. "Volunteer labor supply," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 32(2), pages 159-183, March.
  21. Null, C., 2011. "Warm glow, information, and inefficient charitable giving," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 95(5), pages 455-465.
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