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Paying the price of sweetening your donation: Evidence from a natural field experiment


  • Alpízar, Francisco
  • Martinsson, Peter


We add a gift in appreciation of the subject’s contribution to a social reference treatment successfully proven to trigger higher donations, and find that the share of people contributing decreases significantly, thereby eroding the original treatment’s capacity to increase donations.

Suggested Citation

  • Alpízar, Francisco & Martinsson, Peter, 2012. "Paying the price of sweetening your donation: Evidence from a natural field experiment," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 114(2), pages 182-185.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:ecolet:v:114:y:2012:i:2:p:182-185 DOI: 10.1016/j.econlet.2011.10.008

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Ernst Fehr & Simon Gächter, 2000. "Fairness and Retaliation: The Economics of Reciprocity," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 14(3), pages 159-181, Summer.
    2. Falk, Armin & Fischbacher, Urs, 2006. "A theory of reciprocity," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 54(2), pages 293-315, February.
    3. Dan Ariely & Anat Bracha & Stephan Meier, 2009. "Doing Good or Doing Well? Image Motivation and Monetary Incentives in Behaving Prosocially," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 99(1), pages 544-555, March.
    4. Alpizar, Francisco & Carlsson, Fredrik & Johansson-Stenman, Olof, 2008. "Anonymity, reciprocity, and conformity: Evidence from voluntary contributions to a national park in Costa Rica," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 92(5-6), pages 1047-1060, June.
    5. Jen Shang & Rachel Croson, 2009. "A Field Experiment in Charitable Contribution: The Impact of Social Information on the Voluntary Provision of Public Goods," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 119(540), pages 1422-1439, October.
    6. Martin, Richard & Randal, John, 2008. "How is donation behaviour affected by the donations of others?," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 67(1), pages 228-238, July.
    7. Bruno S. Frey & Stephan Meier, 2004. "Social Comparisons and Pro-social Behavior: Testing "Conditional Cooperation" in a Field Experiment," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 94(5), pages 1717-1722, December.
    8. Armin Falk, 2007. "Gift Exchange in the Field," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 75(5), pages 1501-1511, September.
    9. Rabin, Matthew, 1993. "Incorporating Fairness into Game Theory and Economics," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 83(5), pages 1281-1302, December.
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    Cited by:

    1. Fredrik Carlsson & Haoran He & Peter Martinsson, 2013. "Easy come, easy go," Experimental Economics, Springer;Economic Science Association, vol. 16(2), pages 190-207, June.
    2. Alpízar, Francisco & Martinsson, Peter & Nordén, Anna, 2015. "Do entrance fees crowd out donations for public goods? Evidence from a protected area in Costa Rica," Environment and Development Economics, Cambridge University Press, vol. 20(03), pages 311-326, June.
    3. Asiedu, Edward & Ibanez, Marcela, 2014. "The weaker sex? Gender differences in punishment across Matrilineal and Patriarchal Societies," Discussion Papers 165743, Georg-August-Universitaet Goettingen, GlobalFood, Department of Agricultural Economics and Rural Development.
    4. Alem, Yonas & Eggert, Håkan & Kocher, Martin G. & Ruhinduka, Remidius D., 2016. "Why (field) experiments on unethical behavior are important:Comparing stated and revealed behavior," Working Papers in Economics 664, University of Gothenburg, Department of Economics.
    5. repec:eee:ecolec:v:144:y:2018:i:c:p:124-128 is not listed on IDEAS

    More about this item


    Donation; Natural field experiment; Reciprocity;

    JEL classification:

    • C93 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments - - - Field Experiments
    • D10 - Microeconomics - - Household Behavior - - - General
    • D60 - Microeconomics - - Welfare Economics - - - General


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