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Ambiguity and excuse-driven behavior in charitable giving

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  • Garcia, Thomas
  • Massoni, Sébastien
  • Villeval, Marie Claire

Abstract

A donation may have ambiguous costs or ambiguous benefits. Behavior in a laboratory experiment suggests that individuals use this ambiguity strategically as a moral wiggle room to act less generously without feeling guilty. Such excuse-driven behavior is more pronounced when the costs of a donation -rather than its benefits- are ambiguous. However, the importance of excuse-driven behavior is comparable under ambiguity and under risk. Individuals exploit any type of uncertainty as an excuse not to give, regardless of the nature of this uncertainty.

Suggested Citation

  • Garcia, Thomas & Massoni, Sébastien & Villeval, Marie Claire, 2020. "Ambiguity and excuse-driven behavior in charitable giving," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 124(C).
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:eecrev:v:124:y:2020:i:c:s0014292120300441
    DOI: 10.1016/j.euroecorev.2020.103412
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Ambiguity; Excuse-driven behavior; Charitable giving; Social preferences; Experiment;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • C91 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments - - - Laboratory, Individual Behavior
    • D64 - Microeconomics - - Welfare Economics - - - Altruism; Philanthropy; Intergenerational Transfers
    • D81 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Criteria for Decision-Making under Risk and Uncertainty

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