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An experimental investigation of intrinsic motivations for giving

Listed author(s):
  • Mirco Tonin

    ()

  • Michael Vlassopoulos

    ()

This paper presents results from a modified dictator experiment aimed at distinguishing and quantifying intrinsic motivations for giving. We employ an experimental design with three treatments that vary the recipient (experimenter, charity) and amount passed (fixed, varying). We find giving to the experimenter not to be significantly different from giving to a charity, when the amount the subject donates crowds out the amount donated by the experimenter such that the charity always receives a fixed amount. This result suggests that the latter treatment, first used by Crumpler and Grossman (J Public Econ 92(5–6):1011–1021, 2008 ), does not provide a clean test of warm glow motivation. We then propose a new method of detecting warm glow motivation based on the idea that in a random-lottery incentive (RLI) scheme, such as the one we employ, warm glow accumulates and this may lead to satiation, whereas purely altruistic motivation does not. We also provide bounds on the magnitudes of warm glow and pure altruism as motives that drive giving in our experiment. Copyright Springer Science+Business Media New York 2014

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File URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10.1007/s11238-013-9360-9
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Article provided by Springer in its journal Theory and Decision.

Volume (Year): 76 (2014)
Issue (Month): 1 (January)
Pages: 47-67

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Handle: RePEc:kap:theord:v:76:y:2014:i:1:p:47-67
DOI: 10.1007/s11238-013-9360-9
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Order Information: Web: http://www.springer.com/economics/economic+theory/journal/11238/PS2

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  1. Ernst Fehr & Simon Gächter, 2000. "Fairness and Retaliation: The Economics of Reciprocity," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 14(3), pages 159-181, Summer.
  2. Becker, Gary S, 1974. "A Theory of Social Interactions," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 82(6), pages 1063-1093, Nov.-Dec..
  3. Tonin, Mirco & Vlassopoulos, Michael, 2013. "Experimental evidence of self-image concerns as motivation for giving," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 90(C), pages 19-27.
  4. Andreoni, James & Payne, A. Abigail, 2011. "Is crowding out due entirely to fundraising? Evidence from a panel of charities," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 95(5), pages 334-343.
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  9. Ellingsen, Tore & Johannesson, Magnus, 2011. "Conspicuous generosity," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 95(9), pages 1131-1143.
  10. Tonin, Mirco & Vlassopoulos, Michael, 2010. "Disentangling the sources of pro-socially motivated effort: A field experiment," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 94(11-12), pages 1086-1092, December.
  11. Eckel, Catherine C. & Grossman, Philip J. & Johnston, Rachel M., 2005. "An experimental test of the crowding out hypothesis," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 89(8), pages 1543-1560, August.
  12. Andreoni, James, 1989. "Giving with Impure Altruism: Applications to Charity and Ricardian Equivalence," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 97(6), pages 1447-1458, December.
  13. 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.
  14. Crumpler, Heidi & Grossman, Philip J., 2008. "An experimental test of warm glow giving," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 92(5-6), pages 1011-1021, June.
  15. Palfrey, Thomas R & Prisbrey, Jeffrey E, 1997. "Anomalous Behavior in Public Goods Experiments: How Much and Why?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 87(5), pages 829-846, December.
  16. Robin Cubitt & Chris Starmer & Robert Sugden, 1998. "On the Validity of the Random Lottery Incentive System," Experimental Economics, Springer;Economic Science Association, vol. 1(2), pages 115-131, September.
  17. Grossman, Zachary, 2010. "Self-Signaling Versus Social-Signaling in Giving," University of California at Santa Barbara, Economics Working Paper Series qt7320x2cp, Department of Economics, UC Santa Barbara.
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