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

Author

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

Abstract

This study examines 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 results. For example, previous donors are more likely to give, and contribute more, than other donor types. Yet, how previous donors were acquired is critical: agents initially attracted by an economic mechanism are more likely to continue giving than agents attracted by a nonmechanism factor. From a methodological viewpoint, our study showcases the benefit of moving beyond an experimental design that focuses on short-run substitution effects. (JEL C93, D64, D82, H41, L31, Z12)

Suggested Citation

  • 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 958-983, June.
  • Handle: RePEc:aea:aecrev:v:100:y:2010:i:3:p:958-83
    Note: DOI: 10.1257/aer.100.3.958
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • C93 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments - - - Field Experiments
    • D64 - Microeconomics - - Welfare Economics - - - Altruism; Philanthropy; Intergenerational Transfers
    • D82 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Asymmetric and Private Information; Mechanism Design
    • H41 - Public Economics - - Publicly Provided Goods - - - Public Goods
    • L31 - Industrial Organization - - Nonprofit Organizations and Public Enterprise - - - Nonprofit Institutions; NGOs; Social Entrepreneurship
    • Z12 - Other Special Topics - - Cultural Economics - - - Religion

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    1. Is a Donor in Hand Better Than Two in the Bush? Evidence from a Natural Field Experiment (AER 2010) in ReplicationWiki

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