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Peer effects in charitable giving: Evidence from the (running) field

Author

Listed:
  • Sarah Smith
  • Frank Windmeijer
  • Edmund Wright

Abstract

There is a widespread belief that peer effects are important in charitable giving, but surprisingly little evidence on how donors respond to their peers. We analyse a unique dataset of donations to online fundraising pages to provide evidence on the direction and magnitude of peer effects – we find that a £10 increase in the mean of past donations increases giving by £3.50, on average. We also explore potential explanations for why peers matter. We find no evidence that donations provide a signal of charity quality, nor any role for fundraising targets. Our preferred explanation is that donors benchmark themselves against the distribution of donations from their peers.

Suggested Citation

  • Sarah Smith & Frank Windmeijer & Edmund Wright, 2012. "Peer effects in charitable giving: Evidence from the (running) field," The Centre for Market and Public Organisation 12/290, The Centre for Market and Public Organisation, University of Bristol, UK.
  • Handle: RePEc:bri:cmpowp:12/290
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    charitable giving; peer effects; donations;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • H41 - Public Economics - - Publicly Provided Goods - - - Public Goods

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