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How is donation behaviour affected by the donations of others?

  • Martin, Richard
  • Randal, John

This paper describes a natural field experiment investigating voluntary contributions to a public good. The setting was an art gallery where admission was free, but donations could be deposited into a transparent box in the foyer. We manipulated the social information available to patrons by altering what was visible in the donation box. In particular, we investigated four treatments: one with primarily a few large denomination bills, one with several small denomination bills, one with a large amount of coinage, and one empty. The social information provided had a significant impact on donation composition, frequency, and value.

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File URL: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0167-2681(07)00163-1
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Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization.

Volume (Year): 67 (2008)
Issue (Month): 1 (July)
Pages: 228-238

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Handle: RePEc:eee:jeborg:v:67:y:2008:i:1:p:228-238
Contact details of provider: Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/jebo

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  1. Dufwenberg, Martin & Kirchsteiger, Georg, 2004. "A theory of sequential reciprocity," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 47(2), pages 268-298, May.
  2. Craig Landry & Andreas Lange & John A. List & Michael K. Price & Nicholas G. Rupp, 2005. "Toward an Understanding of the Economics of Charity: Evidence from a Field Experiment," NBER Working Papers 11611, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Andreoni, James, 1990. "Impure Altruism and Donations to Public Goods: A Theory of Warm-Glow Giving?," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 100(401), pages 464-77, June.
  4. Glenn Harrison & John List, 2004. "Field experiments," Artefactual Field Experiments 00058, The Field Experiments Website.
  5. Fischbacher, Urs & Gachter, Simon & Fehr, Ernst, 2001. "Are people conditionally cooperative? Evidence from a public goods experiment," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 71(3), pages 397-404, June.
  6. Dawes, Robyn M & Thaler, Richard H, 1988. "Anomalies: Cooperation," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 2(3), pages 187-97, Summer.
  7. Gary S. Becker, 1974. "A Theory of Social Interactions," NBER Working Papers 0042, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  8. Vesterlund, Lise, 2003. "The informational value of sequential fundraising," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 87(3-4), pages 627-657, March.
  9. Soetevent, Adriaan R., 2005. "Anonymity in giving in a natural context--a field experiment in 30 churches," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 89(11-12), pages 2301-2323, December.
  10. Matthew Rabin., 1992. "Incorporating Fairness into Game Theory and Economics," Economics Working Papers 92-199, University of California at Berkeley.
  11. John A. List & David Lucking-Reiley, 2002. "The Effects of Seed Money and Refunds on Charitable Giving: Experimental Evidence from a University Capital Campaign," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 110(1), pages 215-233, February.
  12. Sugden, Robert, 1984. "Reciprocity: The Supply of Public Goods through Voluntary Contributions," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 94(376), pages 772-87, December.
  13. Bernheim, B Douglas, 1994. "A Theory of Conformity," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 102(5), pages 841-77, October.
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