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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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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. Glenn Harrison & John List, 2004. "Field experiments," Artefactual Field Experiments 00058, The Field Experiments Website.
  2. 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.
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  4. Vesterlund, Lise, 2003. "The informational value of sequential fundraising," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 87(3-4), pages 627-657, March.
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  8. Sugden, Robert, 1984. "Reciprocity: The Supply of Public Goods through Voluntary Contributions," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 94(376), pages 772-87, December.
  9. 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.
  10. 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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  12. 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.
  13. Dawes, Robyn M & Thaler, Richard H, 1988. "Anomalies: Cooperation," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 2(3), pages 187-97, Summer.
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