IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this paper

When warm glow burns: Motivational (mis)allocation in the non-profit sector


  • Aldashev, Gani
  • Jaimovich, Esteban
  • Verdier, Thierry


We build an occupational-choice general-equilibrium model of an economy with the non-profit sector financed through private warm-glow donations. Lack of monitoring on the use of funds implies that an increase of funds of the non-profit sector (because of a higher income in the for-profit sector, a stronger preference for giving, or an inflow of foreign aid) worsens the motivational composition and performance of the non-profit sector. If motivated donors give more than unmotivated ones, there exist two stable (motivational) equilibria. Linking donations to the motivational composition of the non-profit sector or a tax-financed public funding of non-profits can eliminate the bad equilibrium.

Suggested Citation

  • Aldashev, Gani & Jaimovich, Esteban & Verdier, Thierry, 2014. "When warm glow burns: Motivational (mis)allocation in the non-profit sector," CEPR Discussion Papers 9963, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  • Handle: RePEc:cpr:ceprdp:9963

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:
    Download Restriction: CEPR Discussion Papers are free to download for our researchers, subscribers and members. If you fall into one of these categories but have trouble downloading our papers, please contact us at

    As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to search for a different version of it.

    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Korenok, Oleg & Millner, Edward L. & Razzolini, Laura, 2013. "Impure altruism in dictators' giving," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 97(C), pages 1-8.
    2. Bilodeau, Marc & Slivinski, Al, 1996. "Toilet cleaning and department chairing: Volunteering a public service," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 59(2), pages 299-308, February.
    3. Timothy Besley & Maitreesh Ghatak, 2008. "Status Incentives," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 98(2), pages 206-211, May.
    4. Rachel M. McCleary & Robert J. Barro, 2006. "U.S.-Based Private Voluntary Organizations: Religious and Secular PVOs Engaged in International Relief & Development," NBER Working Papers 12238, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    5. Andreoni, James & Payne, A. Abigail, 2011. "Is crowding out due entirely to fundraising? Evidence from a panel of charities," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 95(5), pages 334-343.
    6. Glaeser, Edward L. & Shleifer, Andrei, 2001. "Not-for-profit entrepreneurs," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 81(1), pages 99-115, July.
    7. Timothy Besley & Maitreesh Ghatak, 2005. "Competition and Incentives with Motivated Agents," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 95(3), pages 616-636, June.
    8. Jean Tirole & Roland Bénabou, 2006. "Incentives and Prosocial Behavior," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 96(5), pages 1652-1678, December.
    9. Macchiavello, Rocco, 2008. "Public sector motivation and development failures," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 86(1), pages 201-213, April.
    10. Christiane Bradler & Robert Dur & Susanne Neckermann & Arjan Non, 2016. "Employee Recognition and Performance: A Field Experiment," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 62(11), pages 3085-3099, November.
    11. Alesina, Alberto & Dollar, David, 2000. "Who Gives Foreign Aid to Whom and Why?," Journal of Economic Growth, Springer, vol. 5(1), pages 33-63, March.
    12. Svensson, Jakob, 2000. "Foreign aid and rent-seeking," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 51(2), pages 437-461, August.
    13. Bilodeau, Marc & Steinberg, Richard, 2006. "Donative nonprofit organizations," Handbook on the Economics of Giving, Reciprocity and Altruism, Elsevier.
    14. James Andreoni, 2006. "Leadership Giving in Charitable Fund-Raising," Journal of Public Economic Theory, Association for Public Economic Theory, vol. 8(1), pages 1-22, January.
    15. Tonin, Mirco & Vlassopoulos, Michael, 2010. "Disentangling the sources of pro-socially motivated effort: A field experiment," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 94(11-12), pages 1086-1092, December.
    16. Eric Werker & Faisal Z. Ahmed, 2008. "What Do Nongovernmental Organizations Do?," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 22(2), pages 73-92, Spring.
    17. Caselli, Francesco & Morelli, Massimo, 2004. "Bad politicians," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 88(3-4), pages 759-782, March.
    18. Andreoni, James, 1989. "Giving with Impure Altruism: Applications to Charity and Ricardian Equivalence," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 97(6), pages 1447-1458, December.
    19. Bano, Masooda, 2008. "Dangerous Correlations: Aid's Impact on NGOs' Performance and Ability to Mobilize Members in Pakistan," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 36(11), pages 2297-2313, November.
    20. Jaimovich, Esteban & Rud, Juan Pablo, 2014. "Excessive public employment and rent-seeking traps," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 106(C), pages 144-155.
    21. David C. Ribar & Mark O. Wilhelm, 2002. "Altruistic and Joy-of-Giving Motivations in Charitable Behavior," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 110(2), pages 425-457, April.
    22. Karlan, Dean & List, John A. & Shafir, Eldar, 2011. "Small matches and charitable giving: Evidence from a natural field experiment," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 95(5), pages 344-350.
    23. Delfgaauw, Josse & Dur, Robert, 2010. "Managerial talent, motivation, and self-selection into public management," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 94(9-10), pages 654-660, October.
    24. Aldashev, Gani & Verdier, Thierry, 2010. "Goodwill bazaar: NGO competition and giving to development," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 91(1), pages 48-63, January.
    25. Platteau, Jean-Philippe & Gaspart, Frederic, 2003. "The Risk of Resource Misappropriation in Community-Driven Development," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 31(10), pages 1687-1703, October.
    26. Ghazala Mansuri & Vijayendra Rao, 2013. "Localizing Development : Does Participation Work?," World Bank Publications, The World Bank, number 11859, March.
    27. Fisman, Raymond & Glenn Hubbard, R., 2005. "Precautionary savings and the governance of nonprofit organizations," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 89(11-12), pages 2231-2243, December.
    28. repec:hrv:faseco:33078971 is not listed on IDEAS
    29. Lakdawalla, Darius & Philipson, Tomas, 2006. "The nonprofit sector and industry performance," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 90(8-9), pages 1681-1698, September.
    30. Andreoni, James, 1988. "Privately provided public goods in a large economy: The limits of altruism," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 35(1), pages 57-73, February.
    31. James Andreoni & A. Abigail Payne, 2003. "Do Government Grants to Private Charities Crowd Out Giving or Fund-raising?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 93(3), pages 792-812, June.
    32. Lester M. Salamon, 2010. "Putting The Civil Society Sector On The Economic Map Of The World," Annals of Public and Cooperative Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 81(2), pages 167-210, June.
    33. Ilyana Kuziemko & Eric Werker, 2006. "How Much Is a Seat on the Security Council Worth? Foreign Aid and Bribery at the United Nations," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 114(5), pages 905-930, October.
    34. James Andreoni & John Miller, 2002. "Giving According to GARP: An Experimental Test of the Consistency of Preferences for Altruism," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 70(2), pages 737-753, March.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)


    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.

    Cited by:

    1. Justin Mattias Valasek, 2015. "Reforming an Institutional Culture of Corruption: A Model of Motivated Agents and Collective Reputation," CESifo Working Paper Series 5599, CESifo Group Munich.
    2. Lea Cassar, 2014. "Optimal contracting with endogenous project mission," ECON - Working Papers 150, Department of Economics - University of Zurich, revised Oct 2014.
    3. repec:elg:eechap:15325_15 is not listed on IDEAS
    4. Valasek, Justin, 2016. "Dynamic reform of public institutions: A model of motivated agents and collective reputation," Discussion Papers, Research Unit: Economics of Change SP II 2015-303r, Social Science Research Center Berlin (WZB).
    5. Hagen, Rune Jansen, 2014. "Rents and the Political Economy of Development Aid," Working Papers in Economics 07/14, University of Bergen, Department of Economics.

    More about this item


    altruism; charitable giving; foreign aid.; non-profit organizations; occupational choice;

    JEL classification:

    • D5 - Microeconomics - - General Equilibrium and Disequilibrium
    • D64 - Microeconomics - - Welfare Economics - - - Altruism; Philanthropy; Intergenerational Transfers
    • J24 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Human Capital; Skills; Occupational Choice; Labor Productivity
    • L31 - Industrial Organization - - Nonprofit Organizations and Public Enterprise - - - Nonprofit Institutions; NGOs; Social Entrepreneurship

    NEP fields

    This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:


    Access and download statistics


    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:cpr:ceprdp:9963. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (). General contact details of provider: .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.