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Relational Warm Glow and Giving in Social Groups

  • Sarah Smith
  • Kimberley Scharf

    ()

We study charitable giving within social groups. Exploiting a unique dataset, we establish three key relationships between social group size and fundraising outcomes: (i) a positive relationship between group size and the total number of donations; (ii) a negative relationship between group size and the amount given by each donor; (iii) no relationship between group size and the total amount raised by the fundraiser. We rule out classic free-riding to explain these relationships since the number of social group members is only a subset of total contributors. Instead, the findings are consistent with the notion that giving in social groups is motivated by “relational” warm glow.

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File URL: http://www.bristol.ac.uk/cmpo/publications/papers/2014/wp327.pdf
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Paper provided by Department of Economics, University of Bristol, UK in its series The Centre for Market and Public Organisation with number 13/327.

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Length: 25 pages
Date of creation: Jun 2014
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:bri:cmpowp:13/327
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Web page: http://www.bris.ac.uk/cmpo/
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  1. Meer, Jonathan, 2011. "Brother, can you spare a dime? Peer pressure in charitable solicitation," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 95(7-8), pages 926-941, August.
  2. Castillo, Marco & Petrie, Ragan & Wardell, Clarence, 2014. "Fundraising through online social networks: A field experiment on peer-to-peer solicitation," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 114(C), pages 29-35.
  3. John A. List, 2011. "The Market for Charitable Giving," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 25(2), pages 157-80, Spring.
  4. Kimberley Ann Scharf, 2013. "Private Provision of Public Goods and Information Diffusion in Social Groups," CESifo Working Paper Series 4492, CESifo Group Munich.
  5. R. M. Isaac & J. M. Walker, 2010. "Group size effects in public goods provision: The voluntary contribution mechanism," Levine's Working Paper Archive 310, David K. Levine.
  6. 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 464-77, June.
  7. Isaac, R. Mark & Walker, James M. & Williams, Arlington W., 1994. "Group size and the voluntary provision of public goods : Experimental evidence utilizing large groups," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 54(1), pages 1-36, May.
  8. Soetevent, Adriaan R., 2005. "Anonymity in giving in a natural context--a field experiment in 30 churches," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 89(11-12), pages 2301-2323, December.
  9. Harbaugh, William T, 1998. "The Prestige Motive for Making Charitable Transfers," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 88(2), pages 277-82, May.
  10. Adriaan Soetevent, 2005. "Anonymity in giving in a natural context-a field experiment in thirty churches," Framed Field Experiments 00198, The Field Experiments Website.
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