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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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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Altruism; Intertemporal choice; Field experiment;
    All these keywords.

    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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