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On Reminder Effects, Drop-Outs and Dominance: Evidence from an Online Experiment on Charitable Giving

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  • Axel Sonntag
  • Daniel John Zizzo

Abstract

We present the results of an experiment that (a) shows the usefulness of screening out drop-outs and (b) tests whether different methods of payment and reminder intervals affect charitable giving. Following a lab session, participants could make online donations to charity for a total duration of three months. Our procedure justifying the exclusion of drop-outs consists in requiring participants to collect payments in person flexibly and as known in advance and as highlighted to them later. Our interpretation is that participants who failed to collect their positive payments under these circumstances are likely not to satisfy dominance. If we restrict the sample to subjects who did not drop out, but not otherwise, reminders significantly increase the overall amount of charitable giving. We also find that weekly reminders are no more effective than monthly reminders in increasing charitable giving, and that, in our three months duration experiment, standing orders do not increase giving relative to one-off donations.

Suggested Citation

  • Axel Sonntag & Daniel John Zizzo, 2015. "On Reminder Effects, Drop-Outs and Dominance: Evidence from an Online Experiment on Charitable Giving," PLOS ONE, Public Library of Science, vol. 10(8), pages 1-17, August.
  • Handle: RePEc:plo:pone00:0134705
    DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0134705
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Dean Karlan & Margaret McConnell & Sendhil Mullainathan & Jonathan Zinman, 2016. "Getting to the Top of Mind: How Reminders Increase Saving," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 62(12), pages 3393-3411, December.
    2. Johansson-Stenman, Olof & Mahmud, Minhaj & Martinsson, Peter, 2005. "Does stake size matter in trust games?," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 88(3), pages 365-369, September.
    3. Adriaan R. Soetevent, 2011. "Payment Choice, Image Motivation and Contributions to Charity: Evidence from a Field Experiment," American Economic Journal: Economic Policy, American Economic Association, vol. 3(1), pages 180-205, February.
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    Cited by:

    1. Stephan Müller & Holger A Rau, 2019. "Too cold for warm glow? Christmas-season effects in charitable giving," PLOS ONE, Public Library of Science, vol. 14(5), pages 1-13, May.
    2. Andrew Dustan & Stanislao Maldonado & Juan Manuel Hernandez-Agramonte, 2018. "Motivating bureaucrats with non-monetary incentives when state capacity is weak: Evidence from large-scale field experiments in Peru," Working Papers 136, Peruvian Economic Association.
    3. Andrew Dustan & Juan Manuel Hernandez-Agramonte & Stanislao Maldonado, 2018. "Motivating bureaucrats with non-monetary incentives when state capacity is weak: Evidence from large-scale," Natural Field Experiments 00664, The Field Experiments Website.
    4. Knowles, Stephen & Servátka, Maroš & Sullivan, Trudy, 2016. "Deadlines, Procrastination, and Inattention in Charitable Tasks: A Field Experiment," MPRA Paper 69621, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    5. Muller, Paul & Habla, Wolfgang, 2018. "Experimental and non-experimental evidence on limited attention and present bias at the gym," Working Papers in Economics 743, University of Gothenburg, Department of Economics.
    6. Falco, Paolo & Zaccagni, Sarah, 2020. "Promoting social distancing in a pandemic: Beyond the good intentions," OSF Preprints a2nys, Center for Open Science.
    7. Damgaard, Mette Trier & Gravert, Christina, 2018. "The hidden costs of nudging: Experimental evidence from reminders in fundraising," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 157(C), pages 15-26.
    8. Goette, Lorenz & Tripodi, Egon, 2020. "Does positive feedback of social impact motivate prosocial behavior? A field experiment with blood donors," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 175(C), pages 1-8.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • C91 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments - - - Laboratory, Individual Behavior
    • D64 - Microeconomics - - Welfare Economics - - - Altruism; Philanthropy; Intergenerational Transfers
    • L31 - Industrial Organization - - Nonprofit Organizations and Public Enterprise - - - Nonprofit Institutions; NGOs; Social Entrepreneurship

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