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Charitable giving when altruism and similarity are linked

Listed author(s):
  • Rotemberg, Julio J.

This paper presents a model in which anonymous charitable donations are rationalized by two human tendencies drawn from the psychology literature. The first is people's disproportionate disposition to help those they agree with while the second is the dependence of peoples' self-esteem on the extent to which they perceive that others agree with them. Government spending crowds out the charity that ensues from these forces only modestly. Moreover, people's donations tend to rise when others donate. In some equilibria of the model, poor people give little because they expect donations to come mainly from richer individuals. In others, donations by poor individuals constitute a large fraction of donations and this raises the incentive for poor people to donate. The model provides interpretations for episodes in which the number of charities rises while total donations are stagnant.

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File URL: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0047272712001028
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Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Journal of Public Economics.

Volume (Year): 114 (2014)
Issue (Month): C ()
Pages: 36-49

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Handle: RePEc:eee:pubeco:v:114:y:2014:i:c:p:36-49
DOI: 10.1016/j.jpubeco.2012.09.003
Contact details of provider: Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/inca/505578

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  1. Romano, Richard & Yildirim, Huseyin, 2001. "Why charities announce donations: a positive perspective," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 81(3), pages 423-447, September.
  2. Ellingsen, Tore & Johannesson, Magnus, 2011. "Conspicuous generosity," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 95(9), pages 1131-1143.
  3. In-Koo Cho & David M. Kreps, 1987. "Signaling Games and Stable Equilibria," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 102(2), pages 179-221.
  4. Benabou, Roland & Tirole, Jean, 2005. "Incentives and Prosocial Behavior," IZA Discussion Papers 1695, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  5. Gani Aldashev & Thierry Verdier, 2010. "Goodwill bazaar: NGO competition and giving to development," Post-Print halshs-00754487, HAL.
  6. Julio Rotemberg, 2009. "Attitude-dependent altruism, turnout and voting," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 140(1), pages 223-244, July.
  7. Bergstrom, Theodore & Blume, Lawrence & Varian, Hal, 1986. "On the private provision of public goods," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 29(1), pages 25-49, February.
  8. 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.
  9. John List & David Lucking-Reiley, 2002. "The effects of seed money and refunds on charitable giving: Experimental evidence from a university capital campaign," Natural Field Experiments 00301, The Field Experiments Website.
  10. Bilodeau, Marc & Slivinski, Al, 1997. "Rival charities," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 66(3), pages 449-467, December.
  11. Glazer, Amihai & Konrad, Kai A, 1996. "A Signaling Explanation for Charity," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 86(4), pages 1019-1028, September.
  12. Vesterlund, Lise, 2003. "The informational value of sequential fundraising," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 87(3-4), pages 627-657, March.
  13. Warr, Peter G., 1982. "Pareto optimal redistribution and private charity," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 19(1), pages 131-138, October.
  14. Riber, D.C. & Wilhelm, M.O., 1996. "Altruistic and Joy-of-Giving Motivations in Charitable Behavior," Papers 1-96-4, Pennsylvania State - Department of Economics.
  15. John List, 2011. "The Market for Charitable Giving," Natural Field Experiments 00472, The Field Experiments Website.
  16. 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.
  17. Susan Rose-Ackerman, 1982. "Charitable Giving and “Excessive†Fundraising," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 97(2), pages 193-212.
  18. Sugden, Robert, 1982. "On the Economics of Philanthropy," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 92(366), pages 341-350, June.
  19. 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.
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