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Do norms on contribution behavior affect intrinsic motivation? Field-experimental evidence from Germany

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  • Boyer, Pierre C.
  • Dwenger, Nadja
  • Rincke, Johannes

Abstract

This paper studies how imposing norms on contribution behavior affects individuals' intrinsic motivation. We consider the church levy, which the Catholic Church in Germany collects as a charitable donation, despite the fact that the levy is legally a tax. We design a randomized field experiment with treatments informing individuals that the levy is a tax. We demonstrate that treatment effects differ across motivational types. Among weakly intrinsically motivated individuals, communicating the legal norm results in a significant crowd-out of intrinsic motivation. In contrast, strongly intrinsically motivated individuals do not show any treatment response.

Suggested Citation

  • 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.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:pubeco:v:144:y:2016:i:c:p:140-153
    DOI: 10.1016/j.jpubeco.2016.10.003
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    Cited by:

    1. Dimant, Eugen & van Kleef, Gerben A. & Shalvi, Shaul, 2020. "Requiem for a Nudge: Framing effects in nudging honesty," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 172(C), pages 247-266.
    2. Cinzia Castiglioni & Edoardo Lozza & Eric Dijk & Wilco W. Dijk, 2019. "Two sides of the same coin? An investigation of the effects of frames on tax compliance and charitable giving," Palgrave Communications, Palgrave Macmillan, vol. 5(1), pages 1-10, December.
    3. Doerrenberg, Philipp & Peichl, Andreas, 2017. "Tax morale and the role of social norms and reciprocity: Evidence from a randomized survey experiment," ZEW Discussion Papers 17-045, ZEW - Leibniz Centre for European Economic Research.
    4. Werner, Peter & Riedl, Arno, 2018. "The role of experiments for policy design," Research Memorandum 022, Maastricht University, Graduate School of Business and Economics (GSBE).
    5. Shaun Larcom & Luca A. Panzone & Timothy Swanson, 2017. "Follow-the-leader? Measuring the internalisation of law," CIES Research Paper series 50-2017, Centre for International Environmental Studies, The Graduate Institute.
    6. Friedrichsen, Jana, 2018. "Signals Sell: Product Lines when Consumers Differ Both in Taste for Quality and Image Concern," Rationality and Competition Discussion Paper Series 70, CRC TRR 190 Rationality and Competition.
    7. Gallier, Carlo & Reif, Christiane & Römer, Daniel, 2017. "Repeated pro-social behavior in the presence of economic interventions," Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics (formerly The Journal of Socio-Economics), Elsevier, vol. 69(C), pages 18-28.
    8. Antinyan, Armenak & Asatryan, Zareh, 2019. "Nudging for tax compliance: A meta-analysis," ZEW Discussion Papers 19-055, ZEW - Leibniz Centre for European Economic Research.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Intrinsic motivation; Crowding out; Charitable giving; Norms; Taxes; Public goods; Randomized field experiment;

    JEL classification:

    • C93 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments - - - Field Experiments
    • D03 - Microeconomics - - General - - - Behavioral Microeconomics: Underlying Principles
    • H26 - Public Economics - - Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue - - - Tax Evasion and Avoidance
    • H41 - Public Economics - - Publicly Provided Goods - - - Public Goods

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