IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/a/eee/pubeco/v114y2014icp14-18.html
   My bibliography  Save this article

Working for the “warm glow”: On the benefits and limits of prosocial incentives

Author

Listed:
  • Imas, Alex

Abstract

We study whether using prosocial incentives, where effort is tied directly to charitable contributions, may lead to better performance than standard incentive schemes. In a real-effort task, individuals indeed work harder for charity than for themselves, but only when incentive stakes are low. When stakes are raised, effort increases when individuals work for themselves but not when they work for others and, as a result, the difference in provided effort disappears. Individuals correctly anticipate these effects, choosing to work for charity at low incentives and for themselves at high incentives. The results are consistent with warm glow giving and have implications for optimal incentive design.

Suggested Citation

  • Imas, Alex, 2014. "Working for the “warm glow”: On the benefits and limits of prosocial incentives," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 114(C), pages 14-18.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:pubeco:v:114:y:2014:i:c:p:14-18
    DOI: 10.1016/j.jpubeco.2013.11.006
    as

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0047272713002168
    Download Restriction: Full text for ScienceDirect subscribers only

    File URL: https://libkey.io/10.1016/j.jpubeco.2013.11.006?utm_source=ideas
    LibKey link: if access is restricted and if your library uses this service, LibKey will redirect you to where you can use your library subscription to access this item
    ---><---

    As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to search for a different version of it.

    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Gary Charness & Matthew Rabin, 2002. "Understanding Social Preferences with Simple Tests," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 117(3), pages 817-869.
    2. 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.
    3. Andreas Fuster & Stephan Meier, 2010. "Another Hidden Cost of Incentives: The Detrimental Effect on Norm Enforcement," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 56(1), pages 57-70, January.
    4. Uri Gneezy & Stephan Meier & Pedro Rey-Biel, 2011. "When and Why Incentives (Don't) Work to Modify Behavior," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 25(4), pages 191-210, Fall.
    5. Mirco Tonin & Michael Vlassopoulos,, 2013. "Do Social Incentives Matter? Evidence from an Online Real Effort Experiment," Review of Environment, Energy and Economics - Re3, Fondazione Eni Enrico Mattei, January.
    6. Lisa Anderson & Francis DiTraglia & Jeffrey Gerlach, 2011. "Measuring altruism in a public goods experiment: a comparison of U.S. and Czech subjects," Experimental Economics, Springer;Economic Science Association, vol. 14(3), pages 426-437, September.
    7. Tonin, Mirco & Vlassopoulos, Michael, 2010. "Disentangling the sources of pro-socially motivated effort: A field experiment," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 94(11-12), pages 1086-1092, December.
    8. Andreoni, James, 1993. "An Experimental Test of the Public-Goods Crowding-Out Hypothesis," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 83(5), pages 1317-1327, December.
    9. Andreoni, James, 1989. "Giving with Impure Altruism: Applications to Charity and Ricardian Equivalence," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 97(6), pages 1447-1458, December.
    10. 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 464-477, June.
    11. Anat Bracha & Donald J. Brown, 2007. "Affective Decision Making: A Behavioral Theory of Choice," Cowles Foundation Discussion Papers 1633R, Cowles Foundation for Research in Economics, Yale University, revised Apr 2009.
    12. Linardi, Sera & McConnell, Margaret A., 2011. "No excuses for good behavior: Volunteering and the social environment," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 95(5-6), pages 445-454, June.
    13. Uri Gneezy & Aldo Rustichini, 2000. "Pay Enough or Don't Pay at All," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 115(3), pages 791-810.
    14. Small, Deborah A. & Loewenstein, George & Slovic, Paul, 2007. "Sympathy and callousness: The impact of deliberative thought on donations to identifiable and statistical victims," Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, Elsevier, vol. 102(2), pages 143-153, March.
    15. Andreoni, James, 1988. "Privately provided public goods in a large economy: The limits of altruism," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 35(1), pages 57-73, February.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    Most related items

    These are the items that most often cite the same works as this one and are cited by the same works as this one.
    1. Charness, Gary & Cobo-Reyes, Ramón & Sánchez, Ángela, 2016. "The effect of charitable giving on workers’ performance: Experimental evidence," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 131(PA), pages 61-74.
    2. Boyer, Pierre C. & Dwenger, Nadja & Rincke, Johannes, 2016. "Do norms on contribution behavior affect intrinsic motivation? Field-experimental evidence from Germany," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 144(C), pages 140-153.
    3. Lilley, Andrew & Slonim, Robert, 2014. "The price of warm glow," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 114(C), pages 58-74.
    4. Deb, Rahul & Gazzale, Robert S. & Kotchen, Matthew J., 2014. "Testing motives for charitable giving: A revealed-preference methodology with experimental evidence," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 120(C), pages 181-192.
    5. Vanessa Mertins & Christian Walter, 2021. "In absence of money: a field experiment on volunteer work motivation," Experimental Economics, Springer;Economic Science Association, vol. 24(3), pages 952-984, September.
    6. Kessler, Judd B. & Roth, Alvin E., 2014. "Loopholes undermine donation: An experiment motivated by an organ donation priority loophole in Israel," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 114(C), pages 19-28.
    7. Christine L. Exley & Stephen J. Terry, 2015. "Wage Elasticities in Working and Volunteering: The Role of Reference Points in a Laboratory Study," Harvard Business School Working Papers 16-062, Harvard Business School, revised Jun 2017.
    8. Kajackaite, Agne & Sliwka, Dirk, 2017. "Social responsibility and incentives in the lab: Why do agents exert more effort when principals donate?," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 142(C), pages 482-493.
    9. Arbel, Yuval & Bar-El, Ronen & Schwarz, Mordechai E. & Tobol, Yossef, 2019. "To What Do People Contribute? Ongoing Operations vs. Sustainable Supplies," IZA Discussion Papers 12180, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    10. Cecere, Grazia & Mancinelli, Susanna & Mazzanti, Massimiliano, 2014. "Waste prevention and social preferences: the role of intrinsic and extrinsic motivations," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 107(C), pages 163-176.
    11. Ekaterina Melnik & Jean-Benoît Zimmermann, 2015. "The We and the I: The Logic of Voluntary Associations," Working Papers halshs-01109609, HAL.
    12. Chang, Chia-Chi & Chen, Po-Yu, 2019. "Which maximizes donations: Charitable giving as an incentive or incentives for charitable giving?," Journal of Business Research, Elsevier, vol. 97(C), pages 65-75.
    13. Makoto Kakinaka & Koji Kotani, 2011. "An interplay between intrinsic and extrinsic motivations on voluntary contributions to a public good in a large economy," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 147(1), pages 29-41, April.
    14. Goette, Lorenz & Stutzer, Alois, 2020. "Blood donations and incentives: Evidence from a field experiment," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 170(C), pages 52-74.
    15. Carpenter, Jeffrey & Dolifka, David, 2017. "Exploitation aversion: When financial incentives fail to motivate agents," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 61(C), pages 213-224.
    16. Mark Ottoni-Wilhelm & Lise Vesterlund & Huan Xie, 2017. "Why Do People Give? Testing Pure and Impure Altruism," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 107(11), pages 3617-3633, November.
    17. Lanz, Bruno & Wurlod, Jules-Daniel & Panzone, Luca & Swanson, Timothy, 2018. "The behavioral effect of Pigovian regulation: Evidence from a field experiment," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 87(C), pages 190-205.
    18. Diederich, Johannees & Goeschl, Timo, 2014. "Motivational Drivers of the Private Provision of Public Goods: Evidence From a Large Framed Field Experiment," Working Papers 0561, University of Heidelberg, Department of Economics.
    19. Yildirim, Huseyin, 2014. "Andreoni–McGuire algorithm and the limits of warm-glow giving," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 114(C), pages 101-107.
    20. Jeffrey V. Butler & Danila Serra & Giancarlo Spagnolo, 2020. "Motivating Whistleblowers," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 66(2), pages 605-621, February.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Prosocial behavior; Warm glow; Incentives; Motivation;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • D02 - Microeconomics - - General - - - Institutions: Design, Formation, Operations, and Impact
    • D03 - Microeconomics - - General - - - Behavioral Microeconomics: Underlying Principles

    Statistics

    Access and download statistics

    Corrections

    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:eee:pubeco:v:114:y:2014:i:c:p:14-18. 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: . General contact details of provider: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/inca/505578 .

    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 CitEc recognized a bibliographic reference but did not link an item in RePEc 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 RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: Catherine Liu (email available below). General contact details of provider: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/inca/505578 .

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

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.