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Charity, Publicity, and the Donation Registry


  • Cooter, Robert D
  • Broughman, Brian


Many Americans donate little or nothing to charity. Our social environment is the cause, not human nature. Experiments show that people are generous when their contributions are observable by others. Taking advantage of this fact, we propose a small policy change to increase transparency and elicit generosity. Specifically, we propose that the IRS establish a voluntary donation registry to publicize the proportion of income that individuals donate to charity. Although participation would be voluntary, it would be subject to social pressure. The disclosure created by the registry should significantly increase funds for social goods without increasing taxes.

Suggested Citation

  • Cooter, Robert D & Broughman, Brian, 2005. "Charity, Publicity, and the Donation Registry," Berkeley Olin Program in Law & Economics, Working Paper Series qt9cm5h0qr, Berkeley Olin Program in Law & Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:cdl:oplwec:qt9cm5h0qr

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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Hugh-Jones, David & Reinstein, David, 2012. "Anonymous rituals," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 81(2), pages 478-489.
    2. Blumkin, Tomer & Sadka, Efraim, 2007. "A case for taxing charitable donations," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 91(7-8), pages 1555-1564, August.
    3. David Reinstein & Gerhard Riener, 2012. "Reputation and influence in charitable giving: an experiment," Theory and Decision, Springer, vol. 72(2), pages 221-243, February.


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