Truth in giving: Experimental evidence on the welfare effects of informed giving to the poor
It is often difficult for donors to predict the value of charitable giving because they know little about their recipients. This concern is particularly acute when making contributions to organizations that serve heterogeneous populations. Prior research shows that donors are more generous if they know their assistance benefits a group they like. But we know little about the demand for such information. To start closing this gap, we study transfers of income to real-world poor people in dictator games. Our dictators can purchase signals about why the recipients are poor. We find that a third of the dictators are willing to pay money to learn more about their recipient. Dictators who acquire information mostly use it to withhold resources from less-preferred types, leading to a drastic decline in aggregate transfers. With endogenous information about recipients, we find that all types of poor recipients are worse off.
If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.
As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to look for a different version under "Related research" (further below) or search for a different version of it.
References listed on IDEAS
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
- Eckel, Catherine C. & Grossman, Philip J., 1996. "Altruism in Anonymous Dictator Games," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 16(2), pages 181-191, October.
- Jason Dana & Roberto Weber & Jason Kuang, 2007. "Exploiting moral wiggle room: experiments demonstrating an illusory preference for fairness," Economic Theory, Springer;Society for the Advancement of Economic Theory (SAET), vol. 33(1), pages 67-80, October.
- Roland Bénabou & Jean Tirole, 2006.
"Incentives and Prosocial Behavior,"
- Benabou, Roland & Tirole, Jean, 2005. "Incentives and Prosocial Behavior," IZA Discussion Papers 1695, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
- Roland Bénabou & Jean Tirole, 2005. "Incentives and Prosocial Behavior," NBER Working Papers 11535, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Bénabou, Roland & Tirole, Jean, 2003. "Incentives and Prosocial Behavior," IDEI Working Papers 389, Institut d'Économie Industrielle (IDEI), Toulouse, revised Jan 2006.
- Roland Benabou & Jean Tirole, 2004. "Incentives and Prosocial Behavior," Working Papers 137, Princeton University, Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs, Discussion Papers in Economics.
- Bénabou, Roland & Tirole, Jean, 2004. "Incentives and Prosocial Behaviour," CEPR Discussion Papers 4633, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
- Thomas Piketty, 1995.
"Social Mobility and Redistributive Politics,"
The Quarterly Journal of Economics,
Oxford University Press, vol. 110(3), pages 551-584.
- Giacomo Corneo & Christina M. Fong, 2006.
"What’s the Monetary Value of Distributive Justice?,"
CESifo Working Paper Series
1706, CESifo Group Munich.
- Corneo, Giacomo & Fong, Christina M., 2007. "What´s the monetary value of distributive justice," Discussion Papers 2007/8, Free University Berlin, School of Business & Economics.
- Corneo, Giacomo & Fong, Christina, 2005. "What's the monetary value of distributive justice?," CEPR Discussion Papers 5227, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
- Alberto Alesina & Edward Glaeser & Bruce Sacerdote, 2001.
"Why Doesn't the United States Have a European-Style Welfare State?,"
Brookings Papers on Economic Activity,
Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 32(2), pages 187-278.
- Alesina, Alberto Francesco & Glaeser, Edward Ludwig & Sacerdote, Burce, 2001. "Why Doesn't the United States Have a European-Style Welfare State?," Scholarly Articles 12502088, Harvard University Department of Economics.
- Fong, Christina M. & Bowles, Samuel & Gintis, Herbert, 2006. "Strong reciprocity and the welfare state," Handbook on the Economics of Giving, Reciprocity and Altruism, Elsevier.
- Alberto F. Alesina & Paola Giuliano, 2009.
"Preferences for Redistribution,"
NBER Working Papers
14825, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Stefano DellaVigna & John A. List & Ulrike Malmendier, 2012.
"Testing for Altruism and Social Pressure in Charitable Giving,"
The Quarterly Journal of Economics,
Oxford University Press, vol. 127(1), pages 1-56.
- Stefano DellaVigna & John A. List & Ulrike Malmendier, 2009. "Testing for Altruism and Social Pressure in Charitable Giving," NBER Working Papers 15629, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- John List & Stefano DellaVigna & Ulrike Malmendier, 2012. "Testing for altruism and social pressure in charitable giving," Natural Field Experiments 00137, The Field Experiments Website.
- Dana, Jason & Cain, Daylian M. & Dawes, Robyn M., 2006. "What you don't know won't hurt me: Costly (but quiet) exit in dictator games," Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, Elsevier, vol. 100(2), pages 193-201, July.
- Corneo, Giacomo & Grüner, Hans Peter, 2001.
"Individual Preferences for Political Redistribution,"
CEPR Discussion Papers
2694, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
- Corneo, Giacomo & Gruner, Hans Peter, 2002. "Individual preferences for political redistribution," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 83(1), pages 83-107, January.
- Todd L. Cherry & Peter Frykblom & Jason F. Shogren, 2002.
"Hardnose the Dictator,"
American Economic Review,
American Economic Association, vol. 92(4), pages 1218-1221, September.
- Oberholzer-Gee Felix & Eichenberger Reiner, 2008. "Fairness in Extended Dictator Game Experiments," The B.E. Journal of Economic Analysis & Policy, De Gruyter, vol. 8(1), pages 1-21, July.
- Fong, Christina, 2001. "Social preferences, self-interest, and the demand for redistribution," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 82(2), pages 225-246, November.
When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:eee:pubeco:v:95:y:2011:i:5:p:436-444. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.
For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Zhang, Lei)
If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.
If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.
If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.
If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.
Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.