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Is a Donor in Hand Better than Two in the Bush? Evidence from a Natural Field Experiment

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  • Craig E. Landry
  • Andreas Lange
  • John A. List
  • Michael K. Price
  • Nicholas G. Rupp

Abstract

This study develops theory and conducts an experiment to provide an understanding of why people initially give to charities, why they remain committed to the cause, and what factors attenuate these influences. Using an experimental design that links donations across distinct treatments separated in time, we present several insights. For example, we find that previous donors are more likely to give, and contribute more, than donors asked to contribute for the first time. Yet, how these previous donors were acquired is critical: agents who are initially attracted by signals of charitable quality transmitted via an economic mechanism are much more likely to continue giving than agents who were initially attracted by non-mechanism factors.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 14319.

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Date of creation: Sep 2008
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Publication status: published as Craig E. Landry & Andreas Lange & John A. List & Michael K. Price & Nicholas G. Rupp, 2010. "Is a Donor in Hand Better Than Two in the Bush? Evidence from a Natural Field Experiment," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 100(3), pages 958-83, June.
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:14319

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  1. Craig Landry & Andreas Lange & John List & Michael Price & Nicholas Rupp, 2006. "Toward an understanding of the economics of charity: Evidence from a field experiment," Natural Field Experiments 00292, The Field Experiments Website.
  2. 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.
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Citations

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Cited by:
  1. Dean Karlan and John A. List, 2012. "How Can Bill and Melinda Gates Increase Other People’s Donations to Fund Public Goods? - Working Paper 292," Working Papers 292, Center for Global Development.
  2. Craig E. Landry & Andreas Lange & John A. List & Michael K. Price & Nicholas G. Rupp, 2011. "Is There a 'Hidden Cost of Control' in Naturally-Occurring Markets? Evidence from a Natural Field Experiment," NBER Working Papers 17472, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Dean Karlan & John A. List, 2012. "How Can Bill and Melinda Gates Increase Other People’s Donations to Fund Public Goods?," NBER Working Papers 17954, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. Thomas Mayer, 2012. "Ziliak and McClosky’s Criticisms of Significance Tests: A Damage Assessment," Working Papers 126, University of California, Davis, Department of Economics.
  5. Sieg, Holger & Zhang, Jipeng, 2012. "The importance of managerial capacity in fundraising: Evidence from land conservation charities," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 30(6), pages 724-734.
  6. Craig E. Landry & Andreas Lange & John A. List & Michael K. Price & Nicholas G. Rupp, 2011. "The Hidden Benefits of Control: Evidence from a Natural Field Experiment," NBER Working Papers 17473, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.

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