IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/a/ucp/jpolec/v110y2002i1p215-233.html
   My bibliography  Save this article

The Effects of Seed Money and Refunds on Charitable Giving: Experimental Evidence from a University Capital Campaign

Author

Listed:
  • John A. List
  • David Lucking-Reiley

Abstract

We design a field experiment to test two theories of fund-raising for threshold public goods: Andreoni predicts that publicly announced "seed money" will increase charitable donations, whereas Bagnoli and Lipman predict a similar increase for a refund policy. Experimentally manipulating a solicitation of 3,000 households for a university capital campaign produced data confirming both predictions. Increasing seed money from 10 percent to 67 percent of the campaign goal produced a nearly sixfold increase in contributions, with significant effects on both participation rates and average gift size. Imposing a refund increased contributions by a more modest 20 percent, with significant effects on average gift size.

Suggested Citation

  • John A. List & David Lucking-Reiley, 2002. "The Effects of Seed Money and Refunds on Charitable Giving: Experimental Evidence from a University Capital Campaign," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 110(1), pages 215-233, February.
  • Handle: RePEc:ucp:jpolec:v:110:y:2002:i:1:p:215-233
    DOI: 10.1086/324392
    as

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1086/324392
    File Function: main text
    Download Restriction: Access to the online full text or PDF requires a subscription.
    ---><---

    As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to look for a different version below or search for a different version of it.

    Other versions of this item:

    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Harbaugh, William T, 1998. "The Prestige Motive for Making Charitable Transfers," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 88(2), pages 277-282, May.
    2. Bagnoli, Mark & McKee, Michael, 1991. "Voluntary Contribution Games: Efficient Private Provision of Public Goods," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 29(2), pages 351-366, April.
    3. David Lucking-Reiley & John A. List, 2000. "Demand Reduction in Multiunit Auctions: Evidence from a Sportscard Field Experiment," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 90(4), pages 961-972, September.
    4. Rachel Croson & Melanie Marks, 2000. "Step Returns in Threshold Public Goods: A Meta- and Experimental Analysis," Experimental Economics, Springer;Economic Science Association, vol. 2(3), pages 239-259, March.
    5. Mark Bagnoli & Barton L. Lipman, 1989. "Provision of Public Goods: Fully Implementing the Core through Private Contributions," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 56(4), pages 583-601.
    6. Cadsby, Charles Bram & Maynes, Elizabeth, 1999. "Voluntary provision of threshold public goods with continuous contributions: experimental evidence," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 71(1), pages 53-73, January.
    7. John A. List, 2001. "Do Explicit Warnings Eliminate the Hypothetical Bias in Elicitation Procedures? Evidence from Field Auctions for Sportscards," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 91(5), pages 1498-1507, December.
    8. David Lucking-Reiley, 1999. "Using Field Experiments to Test Equivalence between Auction Formats: Magic on the Internet," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 89(5), pages 1063-1080, December.
    9. Marks, Melanie & Croson, Rachel, 1998. "Alternative rebate rules in the provision of a threshold public good: An experimental investigation," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 67(2), pages 195-220, February.
    10. Dawes, Robyn M. & Orbell, John M. & Simmons, Randy T. & Van De Kragt, Alphons J. C., 1986. "Organizing Groups for Collective Action," American Political Science Review, Cambridge University Press, vol. 80(4), pages 1171-1185, December.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    Most related items

    These are the items that most often cite the same works as this one and are cited by the same works as this one.
    1. Bougherara, Douadia & Denant-Boemont, Laurent & Masclet, David, 2011. "Cooperation and framing effects in provision point mechanisms: Experimental evidence," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 70(6), pages 1200-1210, April.
    2. James Andreoni & Laura Gee, 2015. "Gunning for efficiency with third party enforcement in threshold public goods," Experimental Economics, Springer;Economic Science Association, vol. 18(1), pages 154-171, March.
    3. Rose, Steven K. & Clark, Jeremy & Poe, Gregory L. & Rondeau, Daniel & Schulze, William D., 2002. "The private provision of public goods: tests of a provision point mechanism for funding green power programs," Resource and Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 24(1-2), pages 131-155, February.
    4. List John A., 2007. "Field Experiments: A Bridge between Lab and Naturally Occurring Data," The B.E. Journal of Economic Analysis & Policy, De Gruyter, vol. 5(2), pages 1-47, April.
    5. Charles Cadsby & Rachel Croson & Melanie Marks & Elizabeth Maynes, 2008. "Step return versus net reward in the voluntary provision of a threshold public good: An adversarial collaboration," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 135(3), pages 277-289, June.
    6. Bose, Bijetri & Rabotyagov, Sergey, 2018. "Provision of public goods using a combination of lottery and a provision point," Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics (formerly The Journal of Socio-Economics), Elsevier, vol. 73(C), pages 99-115.
    7. Federica Alberti & Anna Cartwright & Edward Cartwright, 2021. "Predicting Efficiency in Threshold Public Good Games: A Learning Direction Theory Approach," Working Papers in Economics & Finance 2021-01, University of Portsmouth, Portsmouth Business School, Economics and Finance Subject Group.
    8. Philippe Le Coent & Raphaële Préget & Sophie Thoyer, 2014. "Why pay for nothing? An experiment on a conditional subsidy scheme in a threshold public good game," Economics Bulletin, AccessEcon, vol. 34(3), pages 1976-1989.
    9. David M. McEvoy & James J. Murphy & John M. Spraggon & John K. Stranlund, 2011. "The problem of maintaining compliance within stable coalitions: experimental evidence," Oxford Economic Papers, Oxford University Press, vol. 63(3), pages 475-498, July.
    10. Urs Fischbacher & Werner Güth & M. Vittoria Levati, 2011. "Crossing the Point of No Return: A Public Goods Experiment," Jena Economic Research Papers 2011-059, Friedrich-Schiller-University Jena.
    11. Luca Corazzini & Christopher Cotton & Paola Valbonesi, 2013. "Too many charities? Insight from an experiment with multiple public goods and contribution thresholds," "Marco Fanno" Working Papers 0171, Dipartimento di Scienze Economiche "Marco Fanno".
    12. Asher, Sam & Casaburi, Lorenzo & Nikolov, Plamen & Ye, Maoliang, 2009. "One Step at a Time: Do Threshold Patterns Matter in Public Good Provision?," Economics Discussion Papers 2009-5, Kiel Institute for the World Economy (IfW).
    13. Groothuis, Peter A. & Whitehead, John C., 2009. "The Provision Point Mechanism and Scenario Rejection in Contingent Valuation," Agricultural and Resource Economics Review, Cambridge University Press, vol. 38(2), pages 271-280, October.
    14. Rondeau, Daniel & D. Schulze, William & Poe, Gregory L., 1999. "Voluntary revelation of the demand for public goods using a provision point mechanism," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 72(3), pages 455-470, June.
    15. Federica Alberti & Edward J. Cartwright, 2016. "Full agreement and the provision of threshold public goods," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 166(1), pages 205-233, January.
    16. Coats, Jennifer C. & Gronberg, Timothy J. & Grosskopf, Brit, 2009. "Simultaneous versus sequential public good provision and the role of refunds -- An experimental study," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 93(1-2), pages 326-335, February.
    17. Maoliang Ye & Jie Zheng & Plamen Nikolov & Sam Asher, 2020. "One Step at a Time: Does Gradualism Build Coordination?," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 66(1), pages 113-129, January.
    18. Werner Güth & Anastasios Koukoumelis & M. Vittoria Levati & Matteo Ploner, 2012. "Public projects benefiting some and harming others: three experimental studies," Jena Economic Research Papers 2012-034, Friedrich-Schiller-University Jena.
    19. An, Yonghong & Hu, Yingyao & Liu, Pengfei, 2018. "Estimating heterogeneous contributing strategies in threshold public goods provision: A structural analysis," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 152(C), pages 124-146.
    20. Mohamed Bchir & Marc Willinger, 2013. "Does a membership fee foster successful public good provision? An experimental investigation of the provision of a step-level collective good," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 157(1), pages 25-39, October.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • C93 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments - - - Field Experiments
    • H41 - Public Economics - - Publicly Provided Goods - - - Public Goods

    Statistics

    Access and download statistics

    Corrections

    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:ucp:jpolec:v:110:y:2002:i:1:p:215-233. 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: (Journals Division). General contact details of provider: https://www.journals.uchicago.edu/JPE .

    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 CitEc recognized a reference but did not link an item in RePEc 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 RePEc Author Service 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.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.