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Give more tomorrow: Two field experiments on altruism and intertemporal choice

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  • Breman, Anna

Abstract

This paper conducts two natural field experiments to test inter-temporal choices in charitable giving by varying the timing of commitment and payment. Monthly donors were asked to increase their contributions (1) immediately, (2) in one month, (3) in two months. The results are consistent between the two field experiments; first, mean increases in donations are significantly higher when donors are asked to commit to future donations. Second, follow-up data shows that the treatment effect is persistent, making the strategy highly profitable to the charity. Finally, I provide evidence of heterogeneity in the response to different time lags, indicating differences in inter-temporal choices among donors.

Suggested Citation

  • Breman, Anna, 2011. "Give more tomorrow: Two field experiments on altruism and intertemporal choice," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 95(11), pages 1349-1357.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:pubeco:v:95:y:2011:i:11:p:1349-1357
    DOI: 10.1016/j.jpubeco.2011.05.004
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Stephen Knowles & Maroš Servátka, 2014. "Transaction costs, the Opportunity Cost of Time and Inertia in Charitable Giving:," Working Papers 1401, University of Otago, Department of Economics, revised Jan 2014.
    2. Alexander L. Brown & Jonathan Meer & J. Forrest Williams, 2013. "Why Do People Volunteer? An Experimental Analysis of Preferences for Time Donations," NBER Working Papers 19066, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    3. Kellner, Christian & Reinstein, David & Riener, Gerhard, 2015. "Stochastic income and conditional generosity," DICE Discussion Papers 197, University of Düsseldorf, Düsseldorf Institute for Competition Economics (DICE).
    4. repec:bri:cmpowp:13/336 is not listed on IDEAS
    5. repec:esx:essedp:762 is not listed on IDEAS
    6. repec:bri:cmpowp:14/336 is not listed on IDEAS
    7. Damgaard, Mette Trier & Gravert, Christina, 2017. "Now or never! The effect of deadlines on charitable giving: Evidence from two natural field experiments," Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics (formerly The Journal of Socio-Economics), Elsevier, vol. 66(C), pages 78-87.
    8. repec:beh:jbepv1:v:2:y:2018:i:1:p:53-57 is not listed on IDEAS
    9. Committee, Nobel Prize, 2017. "Richard H. Thaler: Integrating Economics with Psychology," Nobel Prize in Economics documents 2017-1, Nobel Prize Committee.
    10. Peters, Jörg & Langbein, Jörg & Roberts, Gareth, 2016. "Policy evaluation, randomized controlled trials, and external validity—A systematic review," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 147(C), pages 51-54.
    11. Sutan, Angela & Grolleau, Gilles & Mateu, Guillermo & Vranceanu, Radu, 2018. "“Facta non verba”: An experiment on pledging and giving," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 65(C), pages 1-15.
    12. repec:kap:jrisku:v:55:y:2017:i:1:d:10.1007_s11166-017-9263-1 is not listed on IDEAS
    13. Christian Kellner & David Reinstein & Gerhard Riener, 2017. "Conditional generosity and uncertain income: Evidence from five experiments," Discussion Papers 1707, Exeter University, Department of Economics.
    14. Toke R. Fosgaard & Adriaan (A.R.) Soetevent, 2018. "Promises Undone: How Committed Pledges Impact Donations to Charity," Tinbergen Institute Discussion Papers 18-044/VII, Tinbergen Institute.
    15. Christine L. Exley & Jeffrey K. Naecker, 2015. "Observability Increases the Demand for Commitment Devices," Harvard Business School Working Papers 16-064, Harvard Business School, revised Mar 2016.
    16. James Andreoni & Marta Serra-Garcia, 2016. "Time-Inconsistent Charitable Giving," NBER Working Papers 22824, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Altruism; Intertemporal choice; Field experiment;

    JEL classification:

    • C93 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments - - - Field Experiments
    • L31 - Industrial Organization - - Nonprofit Organizations and Public Enterprise - - - Nonprofit Institutions; NGOs; Social Entrepreneurship
    • D91 - Microeconomics - - Micro-Based Behavioral Economics - - - Role and Effects of Psychological, Emotional, Social, and Cognitive Factors on Decision Making

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