IDEAS home Printed from
MyIDEAS: Login to save this article or follow this journal

Transactions Costs in Charitable Giving: Evidence from Two Field Experiments

  • Huck Steffen


    (University College London)

  • Rasul Imran


    (University College London)

In large-scale fundraising campaigns based on direct mailings, typically less than 5% of individuals donate to the charitable cause. We present evidence from two field experiments designed to measure the existence of transaction costs that inhibit charitable giving in such fundraising campaigns, and shed light on the nature of such transaction costs. The experiments are designed in conjunction with the Bavarian State Opera House. The first mail-out experiment was implemented over two stages using a within-subject design. We develop a theoretical framework that makes precise the identifying assumptions under which we can exploit this two-stage design to measure the following structural parameters among potential donors: (i) the share of donors who would make a strictly positive donation in the complete absence of transaction costs and (ii) the probability that a potential donor has sufficiently low transactions costs to make a strictly positive donation. Our results imply response rates to mail-out solicitations would almost double in the complete absence of transaction costs. The second field experiment provides more evidence on the nature of transaction costs. We distinguish between ex ante transaction costs, which prevent the choice problem from being considered and ex post transaction costs, which prevent choices being implemented. We find that the likelihood of a donation being made increases by 26% in response to even a small reduction in ex post transaction costs.

If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.

File URL:
Download Restriction: For access to full text, subscription to the journal or payment for the individual article is required.

As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to look for a different version under "Related research" (further below) or search for a different version of it.

Article provided by De Gruyter in its journal The B.E. Journal of Economic Analysis & Policy.

Volume (Year): 10 (2010)
Issue (Month): 1 (April)
Pages: 1-35

in new window

Handle: RePEc:bpj:bejeap:v:10:y:2010:i:1:n:31
Contact details of provider: Web page:

Order Information: Web:

No references listed on IDEAS
You can help add them by filling out this form.

This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:bpj:bejeap:v:10:y:2010:i:1:n:31. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Peter Golla)

If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.

If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

This information is provided to you by IDEAS at the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis using RePEc data.