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Bracelets of Pride and Guilt? An Experimental Test of Self-Signaling in Charitable Giving

Author

Listed:
  • Joël J. van der Weele
  • Ferdinand von Siemens

Abstract

Self-signaling theory argues that individuals partly behave prosocially to create or uphold a favorable self-image. To study self-signaling theory, we investigate whether increasing self-image concerns affects charitable giving. In our experiment subjects divide 20 euros between themselves and a charity. Some randomly determined participants are induced to wear a bracelet for the two weeks following their donation decision. This bracelet serves as a private reminder of the experiment, thus making the donation more important for future self-image. If self-signaling plays a role, participants having to wear the bracelet should donate more. We do not find that wearing a bracelet has any effect on donation behavior. This holds although subjects having to wear the bracelet report that at the moment of making the donation, they expect to more often remember the experiment in the following two weeks.

Suggested Citation

  • Joël J. van der Weele & Ferdinand von Siemens, 2014. "Bracelets of Pride and Guilt? An Experimental Test of Self-Signaling in Charitable Giving," CESifo Working Paper Series 4674, CESifo Group Munich.
  • Handle: RePEc:ces:ceswps:_4674
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    File URL: http://www.cesifo-group.de/DocDL/cesifo1_wp4674.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Cueva, Carlos & Dessi, Roberta, 2012. "Charitable Giving, Self-Image and Personality," TSE Working Papers 12-342, Toulouse School of Economics (TSE).
    2. Jean Tirole & Roland Bénabou, 2006. "Incentives and Prosocial Behavior," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 96(5), pages 1652-1678, December.
    3. Roland Bénabou & Jean Tirole, 2011. "Identity, Morals, and Taboos: Beliefs as Assets," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 126(2), pages 805-855.
    4. Grossman, Zachary & van der Weele, Joël, 2013. "Self-Image and Strategic Ignorance in Moral Dilemmas," University of California at Santa Barbara, Economics Working Paper Series qt0bp6z29t, Department of Economics, UC Santa Barbara.
    5. Grossman, Zachary, 2010. "Self-Signaling Versus Social-Signaling in Giving," University of California at Santa Barbara, Economics Working Paper Series qt7320x2cp, Department of Economics, UC Santa Barbara.
    6. Armin Falk, 2007. "Gift Exchange in the Field," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 75(5), pages 1501-1511, September.
    7. Roland Benabou and Jean Tirole, 2004. "Willpower and Personal Rules," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 112(4), pages 848-886, August.
    8. Jason Dana & Roberto Weber & Jason Kuang, 2007. "Exploiting moral wiggle room: experiments demonstrating an illusory preference for fairness," Economic Theory, Springer;Society for the Advancement of Economic Theory (SAET), vol. 33(1), pages 67-80, October.
    9. Rachel Croson & Uri Gneezy, 2009. "Gender Differences in Preferences," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 47(2), pages 448-474, June.
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    Cited by:

    1. repec:eee:jeborg:v:148:y:2018:i:c:p:83-104 is not listed on IDEAS
    2. Holm, Hakan J. & Samahita, Margaret, 2018. "Curating social image: Experimental evidence on the value of actions and selfies," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 148(C), pages 83-104.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    self-signaling; dictator games; charitable giving;

    JEL classification:

    • C91 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments - - - Laboratory, Individual Behavior
    • C72 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Game Theory and Bargaining Theory - - - Noncooperative Games
    • D83 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Search; Learning; Information and Knowledge; Communication; Belief; Unawareness

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