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Giving versus Taking: A “Real Donation” Comparison of Warm Glow and Cold Prickle in a Context-Rich Environment

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Author Info

  • Philip J. Grossman
  • Catherine C. Eckel

Abstract

This paper revisits the question of framing and the provision of public goods. It also addresses the question, is giving in Dictator Games an expression of altruism or an artefact of experimentation? What is unique about this paper is that we employ a “real donation” lab experiment in a context-rich environment: contributions go to actual public goods (i.e. charitable organizations). Our study focuses directly on subjects’ willingness to contribute to and take from a charity. We do this by allocating the initial endowment in one of three ways: either all to the subjects, all to the charity, or evenly between the two. Subjects are allowed to either contribute or take back as little or as much as they wish. We find that framing is irrelevant when comparing the two extreme cases (i.e. the endowments initially allocated all to the subjects or all to the charity); the final amount allocated to the charity is independent of how the choice option is framed. On-the-other-hand, we find evidence suggesting that, when the endowments are evenly split between the two parties, the initial even split seems to act as a powerful focal point: the final outcome is insignificantly different from the initial allocation.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Monash University, Department of Economics in its series Monash Economics Working Papers with number 20-12.

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Length: 23 pages
Date of creation: Sep 2012
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:mos:moswps:2012-20

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Related research

Keywords: Warm Glow; Cold Prickle; Charity; Altruism;

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References

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  1. Li, Sherry Xin & Eckel, Catherine C. & Grossman, Philip J. & Brown, Tara Larson, 2011. "Giving to government: Voluntary taxation in the lab," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 95(9), pages 1190-1201.
  2. James Andreoni, 1994. "Warm-Glow versus Cold-Prickle: The Effects of Positive and Negative Framing on Cooperation in Experiments," Experimental 9410002, EconWPA.
  3. Willinger, Marc & Ziegelmeyer, Anthony, 1999. "Framing and cooperation in public good games: an experiment with an interior solution," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 65(3), pages 323-328, December.
  4. 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.
  5. Sonnemans, Joep & Schram, Arthur & Offerman, Theo, 1998. "Public good provision and public bad prevention: The effect of framing," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 34(1), pages 143-161, January.
  6. Catherine C. Eckel & Philip J. Grossman, 2006. "Subsidizing Charitable Giving with Rebates or Matching: Further Laboratory Evidence," Southern Economic Journal, Southern Economic Association, vol. 72(4), pages 794–807, April.
  7. R. Cookson, 2000. "Framing Effects in Public Goods Experiments," Experimental Economics, Springer, vol. 3(1), pages 55-79, June.
  8. Eckel, Catherine C. & Grossman, Philip J., 1996. "Altruism in Anonymous Dictator Games," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 16(2), pages 181-191, October.
  9. Daniel Houser & Robert Kurzban, 2002. "Revisiting Kindness and Confusion in Public Goods Experiments," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 92(4), pages 1062-1069, September.
  10. Martin Dufwenberg & Simon Gaechter & Heike Hennig-Schmidt, 2006. "The Framing of Games and the Psychology of Strategic Choice," Discussion Papers 2006-20, The Centre for Decision Research and Experimental Economics, School of Economics, University of Nottingham.
  11. John A. List, 2007. "On the Interpretation of Giving in Dictator Games," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 115, pages 482-493.
  12. Nicholas Bardsley, 2008. "Dictator game giving: altruism or artefact?," Experimental Economics, Springer, vol. 11(2), pages 122-133, June.
  13. 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.
  14. Park, Eun-Soo, 2000. "Warm-glow versus cold-prickle: a further experimental study of framing effects on free-riding," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 43(4), pages 405-421, December.
  15. Christina M. Fong & Erzo F. P. Luttmer, 2009. "What Determines Giving to Hurricane Katrina Victims? Experimental Evidence on Racial Group Loyalty," American Economic Journal: Applied Economics, American Economic Association, vol. 1(2), pages 64-87, April.
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Cited by:
  1. Korenok Oleg & Edward L. Millner & Laura Razzolini, 2013. "Taking, Giving, and Impure Altruism in Dictator Games," Working Papers 1301, VCU School of Business, Department of Economics.

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