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Brother Can You Spare a Dime? Peer Effects in Charitable Solicitation

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Author Info

  • Jonathan Meer

    (Stanford University)

Abstract

While the effects of peers on charitable giving have been of considerable interest to social scientists, there is little empirical evidence on the magnitude of these effects. A correlation between giving or volunteering by one’s peers and one’s own giving can be driven by self-selection into groups, common shocks that inspire both the solicitor to ask and the individual to give, or social influence. Using data from a university, this paper analyzes whether alumni are more likely to give and give larger amounts when they are solicited by someone with whom they have social ties. Freshman year roommate assignments and the structure of the university’s giving campaigns are used to overcome problems of selection and common shocks. Social ties play a strong causal role in the decision to donate and the average gift size. Additionally, a solicitor’s request is much more effective if he or she shares characteristics, such as race, with the alumnus being solicited.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Stanford Institute for Economic Policy Research in its series Discussion Papers with number 08-035.

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Length:
Date of creation: Mar 2009
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:sip:dpaper:08-035

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Related research

Keywords: Charity; Social Influence; Social Ties; Common Shocks; Donations;

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References

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  1. Michael Kremer & Dan Levy, 2003. "Peer effects and alcohol use among college students," Natural Field Experiments 00286, The Field Experiments Website.
  2. Michael Kremer & Dan M. Levy, 2003. "Peer Effects and Alcohol Use Among College Students," NBER Working Papers 9876, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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  16. Jonathan Meer & Harvey S. Rosen, 2008. "The ABCs of Charitable Solicitation," Working Papers 1057, Princeton University, Department of Economics, Center for Economic Policy Studies..
  17. Alpizar, Francisco & Carlsson, Fredrik & Johansson-Stenman, Olof, 2007. "Anonymity, Reciprocity, and Conformity: Evidence from Voluntary Contributions to a National Park in Costa Rica," Working Papers in Economics 245, University of Gothenburg, Department of Economics.
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  19. repec:att:wimass:9127 is not listed on IDEAS
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Citations

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Cited by:
  1. Fong, Christina M. & Luttmer, Erzo F. P., 2009. "Do Race and Fairness Matter in Generosity? Evidence from a Nationally Representative Charity Experiment," Working Paper Series rwp09-014, Harvard University, John F. Kennedy School of Government.
  2. Fong, Christina M. & Luttmer, Erzo F.P., 2011. "Do fairness and race matter in generosity? Evidence from a nationally representative charity experiment," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 95(5), pages 372-394.
  3. Diane Reyniers & Richa Bhalla, 2013. "Reluctant altruism and peer pressure in charitable giving," Judgment and Decision Making, Society for Judgment and Decision Making, vol. 8(1), pages 7-15, January.

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