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How Sunday, price, and social norms influence donation behaviour

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  • Martin, Richard
  • Randal, John

Abstract

We describe a natural field experiment investigating donation behaviour. The setting was an art gallery where donations could be deposited into a transparent box in the foyer. Two aspects of the donation environment were manipulated: signs on the donation box and the initial contents of the box. We used three sign treatments: a control with no sign, a sign that thanked donors, and a sign that indicated donations would be matched. We used two initial contents treatments: one with relatively little money ($50) and one with four times as much. The average donation per donor was significantly larger in the $200 treatments but this was offset by a decrease in the propensity to donate. In the matching treatments donations were significantly larger both at the per donor and per visitor level. A control variable turned out to have the largest influence on donation behaviour: the day of the week. The average donation per visitor was 51% higher on Sundays, when compared to every other day of the week.

Suggested Citation

  • Martin, Richard & Randal, John, 2009. "How Sunday, price, and social norms influence donation behaviour," Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics (formerly The Journal of Socio-Economics), Elsevier, vol. 38(5), pages 722-727, October.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:soceco:v:38:y:2009:i:5:p:722-727
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Daniel Rondeau & John List, 2008. "Matching and challenge gifts to charity: evidence from laboratory and natural field experiments," Experimental Economics, Springer;Economic Science Association, vol. 11(3), pages 253-267, September.
    2. Martin, Richard & Randal, John, 2008. "How is donation behaviour affected by the donations of others?," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 67(1), pages 228-238, July.
    3. Glenn W. Harrison & John A. List, 2004. "Field Experiments," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 42(4), pages 1009-1055, December.
    4. Dean Karlan & John A. List, 2007. "Does Price Matter in Charitable Giving? Evidence from a Large-Scale Natural Field Experiment," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 97(5), pages 1774-1793, December.
    5. George A. Akerlof, 1982. "Labor Contracts as Partial Gift Exchange," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 97(4), pages 543-569.
    6. Vesterlund, Lise, 2003. "The informational value of sequential fundraising," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 87(3-4), pages 627-657, March.
    7. Rachel Croson & Jen Shang, 2008. "The impact of downward social information on contribution decisions," Experimental Economics, Springer;Economic Science Association, vol. 11(3), pages 221-233, September.
    8. Andreoni, James, 1990. "Impure Altruism and Donations to Public Goods: A Theory of Warm-Glow Giving?," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 100(401), pages 464-477, June.
    9. Catherine Eckel & Philip Grossman, 2008. "Subsidizing charitable contributions: a natural field experiment comparing matching and rebate subsidies," Experimental Economics, Springer;Economic Science Association, vol. 11(3), pages 234-252, September.
    10. Bernheim, B Douglas, 1994. "A Theory of Conformity," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 102(5), pages 841-877, October.
    11. repec:feb:natura:0053 is not listed on IDEAS
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Martin Korndörfer & Boris Egloff & Stefan C. Schmukle, 2015. "A Large Scale Test of the Effect of Social Class on Prosocial Behavior," Working Papers 1601, Gutenberg School of Management and Economics, Johannes Gutenberg-Universität Mainz.
    2. Martin Korndörfer & Boris Egloff & Stefan C. Schmukle, 2015. "A Large Scale Test of the Effect of Social Class on Prosocial Behavior," SOEPpapers on Multidisciplinary Panel Data Research 808, DIW Berlin, The German Socio-Economic Panel (SOEP).
    3. Rousu, Matthew C. & Baublitz, Sara J., 2011. "Does perceived unfairness affect charitable giving? Evidence from the dictator game," Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics (formerly The Journal of Socio-Economics), Elsevier, vol. 40(4), pages 364-367, August.

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