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Relational Altruism and Giving in Social Groups

Author

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  • Scharf, Kimberley
  • Smith, Sarah

Abstract

Much fundraising is done by individuals within existing social groups. Exploiting a unique dataset, we demonstrate (i) a positive relationship between social group size and the number of donations; (ii) a negative relationship between group size and the size of individual donations; (iii) no clear relationship between group size and the total amount raised. Free riding with respect to the activity being funded cannot explain the relationship between group size and donation size, 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 altruism" .

Suggested Citation

  • Scharf, Kimberley & Smith, Sarah, 2016. "Relational Altruism and Giving in Social Groups," CEPR Discussion Papers 11333, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  • Handle: RePEc:cpr:ceprdp:11333
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Stefano DellaVigna & John A. List & Ulrike Malmendier, 2012. "Testing for Altruism and Social Pressure in Charitable Giving," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 127(1), pages 1-56.
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    6. Bergstrom, Theodore & Blume, Lawrence & Varian, Hal, 1986. "On the private provision of public goods," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 29(1), pages 25-49, February.
    7. Kimberley Scharf, 2014. "Private Provision Of Public Goods And Information Diffusion In Social Groups," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 55, pages 1019-1042, November.
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    9. 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 464-477, June.
    10. 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.
    11. Payne, Abigail & Scharf, Kimberley & Smith, Sarah, 2014. "Online fundraising - the perfect ask?," CAGE Online Working Paper Series 194, Competitive Advantage in the Global Economy (CAGE).
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    18. repec:feb:framed:0087 is not listed on IDEAS
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    Blog mentions

    As found by EconAcademics.org, the blog aggregator for Economics research:
    1. Relational Altruism and Giving in Social Groups
      by maximorossi in NEP-LTV blog on 2016-07-20 17:30:34

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Online giving; Fundraising; Social groups; Donations; Charity; Altruism;

    JEL classification:

    • D64 - Microeconomics - - Welfare Economics - - - Altruism; Philanthropy; Intergenerational Transfers
    • H31 - Public Economics - - Fiscal Policies and Behavior of Economic Agents - - - Household
    • Z1 - Other Special Topics - - Cultural Economics

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