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Relational altruism and giving in social groups

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  • Scharf, Kimberley
  • Smith, Sarah

Abstract

Much fundraising is done by individuals within existing social groups. Exploiting a unique dataset, we demonstrate (i) a positive relationship between social group size and the number of donations; (ii) a negative relationship between group size and the size of individual donations; (iii) no clear relationship between group size and the total amount raised. Free riding with respect to the activity being funded cannot explain the relationship between group size and donation size, since the number of social group members is only a subset of total contributors. Instead, the findings are consistent with the notion that giving in social groups is motivated by “relational altruism”.

Suggested Citation

  • Scharf, Kimberley & Smith, Sarah, 2016. "Relational altruism and giving in social groups," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 141(C), pages 1-10.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:pubeco:v:141:y:2016:i:c:p:1-10
    DOI: 10.1016/j.jpubeco.2016.06.001
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Relational Altruism and Giving in Social Groups
      by maximorossi in NEP-LTV blog on 2016-07-20 17:30:34

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    Cited by:

    1. Perroni, Carlo & Scharf, Kimberley & Talavera, Oleksandr & Vi, Linh, 2021. "Online Salience and Charitable Giving: Evidence from SMS Donations," CAGE Online Working Paper Series 536, Competitive Advantage in the Global Economy (CAGE).

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Online giving; Fundraising; Social groups; Donations; Charity; Altruism;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • D64 - Microeconomics - - Welfare Economics - - - Altruism; Philanthropy; Intergenerational Transfers
    • Z1 - Other Special Topics - - Cultural Economics
    • H31 - Public Economics - - Fiscal Policies and Behavior of Economic Agents - - - Household

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