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An experimental investigation of intrinsic motivations for giving

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  • Tonin, Mirco
  • Vlassopoulos, Michael

Abstract

This paper presents results from a modified dictator experiment aimed at distinguishing and quantifying the two intrinsic motivations for giving: warm glow and pure altruism. In particular, we implemented a within-subject experimental design with three treatments: (i) one, where the recipient is the experimenters, which measures altruistic feelings towards the experimenters (T1), (ii) the Crumpler and Grossman (2008) design in which the recipient is a charity, and the dictator's donation crowds out one-for-one a donation by the experimenters, which aims at measuring warm glow giving (T2), (iii) a third one, with a charity recipient and no crowding out, which elicits both types of altruism (T3). We use T1 to assess to what extent altruistic feelings towards the experimenters are a potential confound for measuring warm glow in T2. We find giving in T1 not to be significantly different from T2, suggesting that the Crumpler and Grossman test is an upper bound estimate of warm glow giving. We provide a lower bound estimate based on the behavior of subjects whose estimate of warm glow giving in T2 is not confounded, that is, those who do not display altruistic feelings towards the experimenters in T1. We use these two estimates to decompose giving in T3 into warm glow and pure altruism and find them to be almost equally important. We also propose a new method of detecting warm glow motivation based on the idea that in a random-lottery incentive (RLI) scheme, such as the one employed here, warm glow benefits accumulate and may lead to satiation, whereas purely altruistic motivation does not. Keywords; dictator game, warm glow, pure altruism, charitable giving

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Economics Division, School of Social Sciences, University of Southampton in its series Discussion Paper Series In Economics And Econometrics with number 1008.

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Date of creation: 01 Apr 2010
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Handle: RePEc:stn:sotoec:1008

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Cited by:
  1. Tonin, Mirco & Vlassopoulos, Michael, 2012. "Experimental Evidence of Self-Image Concerns as Motivation for Giving," IZA Discussion Papers 6388, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  2. Mirco Tonin & Michael Vlassopoulos, 2013. "Sharing One's Fortune? An Experimental Study on Earned Income and Giving," CESifo Working Paper Series 4475, CESifo Group Munich.
  3. Kyriaki Remoundou & Andreas C. Drichoutis & Phoebe Koundouri, 2013. "Isolating Warm Glow in Charitable Auction Giving," Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change and the Environment Working Papers 131, Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change and the Environment.

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