IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/p/feb/natura/00409.html
   My bibliography  Save this paper

A Glimpse into the World of High Capacity Givers: Experimental Evidence from a University Capital Campaign

Author

Listed:
  • Tova Levin
  • Steven Levitt
  • John List

Abstract

The wealthiest 10% of donors now give 90% of charitable dollars in the U.S., but little is known about what motivates them. This study uses a natural field experiment, tracking over five thousand high capacity donors, to lend preliminary insights into the world of high capacity givers. On some dimensions, high capacity donors mirror modal donors: there is persistence in giving patterns, signals of program quality influence giving, and the price of giving is not unduly important. Unlike typical small donors, the givers in our data respond only on the intensive margin, and often with a longer time lag. Our study highlights the value to practitioners of partnering with academics, as our intervention has generated $30 million in incremental donations to the University.

Suggested Citation

  • Tova Levin & Steven Levitt & John List, 2015. "A Glimpse into the World of High Capacity Givers: Experimental Evidence from a University Capital Campaign," Natural Field Experiments 00409, The Field Experiments Website.
  • Handle: RePEc:feb:natura:00409
    as

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL: http://s3.amazonaws.com/fieldexperiments-papers2/papers/00409.pdf
    Download Restriction: no
    ---><---

    Other versions of this item:

    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. John A. List & Azeem M. Shaikh & Yang Xu, 2019. "Multiple hypothesis testing in experimental economics," Experimental Economics, Springer;Economic Science Association, vol. 22(4), pages 773-793, December.
    2. 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.
    3. Adena, Maja & Huck, Steffen, 2019. "Giving once, giving twice: A two-period field experiment on intertemporal crowding in charitable giving," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 172(C), pages 127-134.
    4. Andreas Leibbrandt & John A. List, 2015. "Do Women Avoid Salary Negotiations? Evidence from a Large-Scale Natural Field Experiment," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 61(9), pages 2016-2024, September.
    5. Steffen Huck & Imran Rasul & Andrew Shephard, 2015. "Comparing Charitable Fundraising Schemes: Evidence from a Natural Field Experiment and a Structural Model," American Economic Journal: Economic Policy, American Economic Association, vol. 7(2), pages 326-369, May.
    6. Omar Al-Ubaydli & John A. List, 2015. "Do Natural Field Experiments Afford Researchers More or Less Control than Laboratory Experiments? A Simple Model," NBER Working Papers 20877, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    7. Craig E. Landry & Andreas Lange & John A. List & Michael K. Price & Nicholas G. Rupp, 2006. "Toward an Understanding of the Economics of Charity: Evidence from a Field Experiment," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 121(2), pages 747-782.
    8. John A. List & David Lucking-Reiley, 2002. "The Effects of Seed Money and Refunds on Charitable Giving: Experimental Evidence from a University Capital Campaign," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 110(1), pages 215-233, February.
    9. Alexander L. Brown & Jonathan Meer & J. Forrest Williams, 2019. "Why Do People Volunteer? An Experimental Analysis of Preferences for Time Donations," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 65(4), pages 1455-1468, April.
    10. Ori Heffetz & John A. List, 2014. "Is The Endowment Effect An Expectations Effect?," Journal of the European Economic Association, European Economic Association, vol. 12(5), pages 1396-1422, October.
    11. Blumenthal, Marsha & Kalambokidis, Laura & Turk, Alex, 2012. "Subsidizing Charitable Contributions With a Match Instead of a Deduction: What Happens to Donations and Compliance?," National Tax Journal, National Tax Association;National Tax Journal, vol. 65(1), pages 91-116, March.
    12. Dean Karlan & John A. List, 2007. "Does Price Matter in Charitable Giving? Evidence from a Large-Scale Natural Field Experiment," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 97(5), pages 1774-1793, December.
    13. John A. List, 2020. "Non est Disputandum de Generalizability? A Glimpse into The External Validity Trial," NBER Working Papers 27535, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    14. Dean Karlan & John A List, 2012. "How Can Bill and Melinda Gates Increase Other People’s Donations to Fund Public Goods?," Working Papers id:4880, eSocialSciences.
    15. John A. List, 2011. "The Market for Charitable Giving," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 25(2), pages 157-180, Spring.
    16. Judd B. Kessler & Katherine L. Milkman & C. Yiwei Zhang, 2019. "Getting the Rich and Powerful to Give," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 65(9), pages 4049-4062, September.
    17. Adena, Maja & Huck, Steffen, 2017. "Matching donations without crowding out? Some theoretical considerations, a field, and a lab experiment," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 148(C), pages 32-42.
    18. Daniel Hungerman & Mark Ottoni-Wilhelm, 2016. "What is the Price Elasticity of Charitable Giving? Toward a Reconciliation of Disparate Estimates," Artefactual Field Experiments 00557, The Field Experiments Website.
    19. de Oliveira, Angela C.M. & Croson, Rachel T.A. & Eckel, Catherine, 2011. "The giving type: Identifying donors," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 95(5), pages 428-435.
    20. Catherine Eckel & Philip J. Grossman & Angela Milano, 2007. "Is More Information Always Better? An Experimental Study of Charitable Giving and Hurrican Katrina," Southern Economic Journal, John Wiley & Sons, vol. 74(2), pages 388-411, October.
    21. Hong, Fuhai & Hossain, Tanjim & List, John A., 2015. "Framing manipulations in contests: A natural field experiment," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 118(C), pages 372-382.
    22. Huck, Steffen & Rasul, Imran, 2011. "Matched fundraising: Evidence from a natural field experiment," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 95(5-6), pages 351-362, June.
    23. Sasaki, Shusaku, 2019. "Majority size and conformity behavior in charitable giving: Field evidence from a donation-based crowdfunding platform in Japan," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 70(C), pages 36-51.
    24. John A. List, 2014. "Using Field Experiments to Change the Template of How We Teach Economics," The Journal of Economic Education, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 45(2), pages 81-89, June.
    25. Catherine Eckel & Philip J. Grossman & Angela Milano, 2007. "Is More Information Always Better? An Experimental Study of Charitable Giving and Hurricane Katrina," Southern Economic Journal, John Wiley & Sons, vol. 74(2), pages 388-411, October.
    26. Craig E. Landry & Andreas Lange & John A. List & Michael K. Price & Nicholas G. Rupp, 2010. "Is a Donor in Hand Better Than Two in the Bush? Evidence from a Natural Field Experiment," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 100(3), pages 958-983, June.
    27. Karlan, Dean & List, John A., 2020. "How can Bill and Melinda Gates increase other people's donations to fund public goods?," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 191(C).
    28. Jason M Cowell & Anya Samek & John List & Jean Decety, 2015. "The Curious Relation between Theory of Mind and Sharing in Preschool Age Children," PLOS ONE, Public Library of Science, vol. 10(2), pages 1-8, February.
    29. Bruno S. Frey & Stephan Meier, 2004. "Social Comparisons and Pro-social Behavior: Testing "Conditional Cooperation" in a Field Experiment," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 94(5), pages 1717-1722, December.
    30. Jeffrey A. Flory & Andreas Leibbrandt & John A. List, 2015. "Do Competitive Workplaces Deter Female Workers? A Large-Scale Natural Field Experiment on Job Entry Decisions," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 82(1), pages 122-155.
    31. Jonathan E. Alevy & Craig E. Landry & John A. List, 2015. "Field Experiments On The Anchoring Of Economic Valuations," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 53(3), pages 1522-1538, July.
    32. Jonathan Meer & Benjamin A. Priday, 2021. "Generosity Across the Income and Wealth Distributions," National Tax Journal, University of Chicago Press, vol. 74(3), pages 655-687.
    33. Edwards, James T. & List, John A., 2014. "Toward an understanding of why suggestions work in charitable fundraising: Theory and evidence from a natural field experiment," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 114(C), pages 1-13.
    34. Catherine C. Eckel & David H. Herberich & Jonathan Meer, 2016. "It's Not the Thought that Counts: A Field Experiment on Gift Exchange and Giving at a Public University," NBER Working Papers 22867, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    35. Vesterlund, Lise, 2003. "The informational value of sequential fundraising," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 87(3-4), pages 627-657, March.
    36. Omar Al-Ubaydli & John A. List, 2015. "Do Natural Field Experiments Afford Researchers More or Less Control Than Laboratory Experiments?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 105(5), pages 462-466, May.
    37. Zacharias Maniadis & Fabio Tufano & John A. List, 2014. "One Swallow Doesn't Make a Summer: New Evidence on Anchoring Effects," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 104(1), pages 277-290, January.
    38. James Andreoni & Nikos Nikiforakis & Jan Stoop, 2017. "Are the Rich More Selfish than the Poor, or Do They Just Have More Money? A Natural Field Experiment," NBER Working Papers 23229, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    39. Bruno Frey & Stephan Meier, 2004. "In a field experiment," Natural Field Experiments 00243, The Field Experiments Website.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    Citations

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


    Cited by:

    1. Ashley V Whillans & Elizabeth W Dunn, 2018. "Agentic appeals increase charitable giving in an affluent sample of donors," PLOS ONE, Public Library of Science, vol. 13(12), pages 1-10, December.
    2. Bittschi, Benjamin & Dwenger, Nadja & Rincke, Johannes, 2021. "Water the flowers you want to grow? Evidence on private recognition and donor loyalty," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 131(C).
    3. Butera, Luigi & Horn, Jeffrey, 2020. "“Give less but give smart”: Experimental evidence on the effects of public information about quality on giving," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 171(C), pages 59-76.
    4. Julia Cagé & Malka Guillot, 2021. "Is Charitable Giving Political? Evidence from Wealth and Income Tax Returns," Working Papers hal-03877993, HAL.
    5. Castillo, Marco & Petrie, Ragan, 2020. "Optimal Incentives to Give," IZA Discussion Papers 13321, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    6. Rossi, Mariacristina & Sansone, Dario & van Soest, Arthur & Torricelli, Costanza, 2019. "Household preferences for socially responsible investments," Journal of Banking & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 105(C), pages 107-120.
    7. Matías Strehl Pessina, 2022. "Sectores de altos ingresos y preferencias por redistribución," Documentos de Trabajo (working papers) 22-15, Instituto de Economía - IECON.
    8. Jukić, Irena & Kovač, Dejan & Vuletić Čugalj, Danijela, 2023. "Oxytocin, empathy, altruism and charitable giving: Experimental evidence from blood donations," IWH Discussion Papers 4/2023, Halle Institute for Economic Research (IWH).
    9. Judd B. Kessler & Katherine L. Milkman & C. Yiwei Zhang, 2019. "Getting the Rich and Powerful to Give," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 65(9), pages 4049-4062, September.
    10. Maria Cristina Rossi & Dario Sansone & Costanza Torricelli & Arthur van Soest, 2018. "Household Preferences for Socially Responsible Investments," Centro Studi di Banca e Finanza (CEFIN) (Center for Studies in Banking and Finance) 18021, Universita di Modena e Reggio Emilia, Dipartimento di Economia "Marco Biagi".

    Most related items

    These are the items that most often cite the same works as this one and are cited by the same works as this one.
    1. Krasteva, Silvana & Saboury, Piruz, 2021. "Informative fundraising: The signaling value of seed money and matching gifts," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 203(C).
    2. Indranil Goswami & Oleg Urminsky, 2018. "No Substitute for the Real Thing: The Importance of In-Context Field Experiments In Fundraising," Natural Field Experiments 00660, The Field Experiments Website.
    3. Gallier, Carlo & Goeschl, Timo & Kesternich, Martin & Lohse, Johannes & Reif, Christiane & Römer, Daniel, 2023. "Inter-charity competition under spatial differentiation: Sorting, crowding, and spillovers," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 216(C), pages 457-468.
    4. Saboury, Piruz & Krasteva, Silvana & Palma, Marco A., 2022. "The effect of seed money and matching gifts in fundraising: A lab experiment," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 194(C), pages 425-453.
    5. Indranil Goswami & Indranil Goswami, 2020. "No Substitute for the Real Thing: The Importance of In-Context Field Experiments in Fundraising," Marketing Science, INFORMS, vol. 39(6), pages 1052-1070, November.
    6. Karlan, Dean & List, John A., 2020. "How can Bill and Melinda Gates increase other people's donations to fund public goods?," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 191(C).
    7. Adena, Maja & Hakimov, Rustamdjan & Huck, Steffen, 2020. "Charitable giving by the poor: A field experiment in Kyrgyzstan," Discussion Papers, Research Unit: Economics of Change SP II 2019-305r, WZB Berlin Social Science Center, revised 2020.
    8. Michalis Drouvelis & Benjamin M. Marx, 2021. "Dimensions of donation preferences: the structure of peer and income effects," Experimental Economics, Springer;Economic Science Association, vol. 24(1), pages 274-302, March.
    9. Drouvelis, Michalis & Marx, Benjamin M., 2022. "Can charitable appeals identify and exploit belief heterogeneity?," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 198(C), pages 631-649.
    10. Adena, Maja & Huck, Steffen, 2022. "Personalized fundraising: A field experiment on threshold matching of donations," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 200(C), pages 1-20.
    11. John A. List & James J. Murphy & Michael K. Price & Alexander G. James, 2019. "Do Appeals to Donor Benefits Raise More Money than Appeals to Recipient Benefits? Evidence from a Natural Field Experiment with Pick.Click.Give," NBER Working Papers 26559, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    12. Edwards, James T. & List, John A., 2014. "Toward an understanding of why suggestions work in charitable fundraising: Theory and evidence from a natural field experiment," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 114(C), pages 1-13.
    13. Huck, Steffen & Rasul, Imran, 2011. "Matched fundraising: Evidence from a natural field experiment," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 95(5), pages 351-362.
    14. Adena, Maja & Huck, Steffen & Rasul, Imran, 2017. "Testing consumer theory: evidence from a natural field experiment," EconStor Open Access Articles and Book Chapters, ZBW - Leibniz Information Centre for Economics, vol. 3(2), pages 89-108.
    15. Damgaard, Mette Trier & Gravert, Christina, 2017. "Now or never! The effect of deadlines on charitable giving: Evidence from two natural field experiments," Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics (formerly The Journal of Socio-Economics), Elsevier, vol. 66(C), pages 78-87.
    16. Steffen Huck & Imran Rasul & Andrew Shephard, 2015. "Comparing Charitable Fundraising Schemes: Evidence from a Natural Field Experiment and a Structural Model," American Economic Journal: Economic Policy, American Economic Association, vol. 7(2), pages 326-369, May.
    17. Eszter Czibor & David Jimenez‐Gomez & John A. List, 2019. "The Dozen Things Experimental Economists Should Do (More of)," Southern Economic Journal, John Wiley & Sons, vol. 86(2), pages 371-432, October.
    18. John List, 2021. "2021 Summary Data of Artefactual Field Experiments Published on Fieldexperiments.com," Artefactual Field Experiments 00749, The Field Experiments Website.
    19. Drouvelis, Michalis & Marx, Benjamin M., 2018. "Prosociality spillovers of working with others," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 155(C), pages 205-216.
    20. Adena, Maja & Huck, Steffen, 2019. "Giving once, giving twice: A two-period field experiment on intertemporal crowding in charitable giving," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 172(C), pages 127-134.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • C93 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments - - - Field Experiments
    • H4 - Public Economics - - Publicly Provided Goods

    NEP fields

    This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:

    Statistics

    Access and download statistics

    Corrections

    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:feb:natura:00409. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    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 bibliographic 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.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: David Franks (email available below). General contact details of provider: http://www.fieldexperiments.com .

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

    IDEAS is a RePEc service. RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.