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Seeds to succeed: sequential giving to public projects

Author

Listed:
  • Anat Bracha
  • Michael Menietti
  • Lise Vesterlund

Abstract

The public phase of a capital campaign is typically launched with the announcement of a large seed donation. Andreoni (1998) argues that such a fundraising strategy may be particularly effective when funds are being raised for projects that have fixed production costs. The reason is that the introduction of fixed costs may give rise to both positive and zero provision outcomes, and absent announcements of a large seed gift, donors may get stuck in an equilibrium that fails to provide a desirable public project. Interestingly, Andreoni (1998) demonstrates that announcing seed money can help eliminate such inferior outcomes. We investigate this model experimentally to determine whether announcements of seed money eliminate the inefficiencies that may result under fixed costs and simultaneous provision. To assess the strength of the theory we examine the effect of announcements in both the presence and absence of fixed costs. Our findings are supportive of the theory for projects with sufficiently high fixed costs.

Suggested Citation

  • Anat Bracha & Michael Menietti & Lise Vesterlund, 2009. "Seeds to succeed: sequential giving to public projects," Working Papers 09-21, Federal Reserve Bank of Boston.
  • Handle: RePEc:fip:fedbwp:09-21
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    Cited by:

    1. Sander Onderstal & Arthur J.C. Schram & Adriaan R. Soetevent, 2011. "Bidding to give in the Field: Door-to-Door Fundraisers had it right from the Start," Tinbergen Institute Discussion Papers 11-070/1, Tinbergen Institute, revised 10 Nov 2011.
    2. Chuan, Amanda & Samek, Anya Savikhin, 2014. "“Feel the Warmth” glow: A field experiment on manipulating the act of giving," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 108(C), pages 198-211.
    3. Timothy Cason & Lata Gangadharan, 2015. "Promoting cooperation in nonlinear social dilemmas through peer punishment," Experimental Economics, Springer;Economic Science Association, vol. 18(1), pages 66-88, March.
    4. Meer, Jonathan, 2017. "Does fundraising create new giving?," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 145(C), pages 82-93.
    5. Robbett, Andrea, 2016. "Sustaining cooperation in heterogeneous groups," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 132(PA), pages 121-138.
    6. 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.
    7. Neitzel, Jakob & Sääksvuori, Lauri, 2013. "Normative Conflict and Cooperation in Sequential Social Dilemmas," Annual Conference 2013 (Duesseldorf): Competition Policy and Regulation in a Global Economic Order 79904, Verein für Socialpolitik / German Economic Association.
    8. Onderstal, Sander & Schram, Arthur J.H.C. & Soetevent, Adriaan R., 2014. "Reprint of: Bidding to give in the field," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 114(C), pages 87-100.
    9. Joseph Deutsch & Gil S. Epstein & Alon Nir, 2017. "Mind the Gap: Crowdfunding and the Role of Seed Money," Managerial and Decision Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 38(1), pages 53-75, January.
    10. repec:eee:ecolec:v:144:y:2018:i:c:p:124-128 is not listed on IDEAS
    11. Onderstal, Sander & Schram, Arthur J.H.C. & Soetevent, Adriaan R., 2013. "Bidding to give in the field," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 105(C), pages 72-85.

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    Keywords

    Fund raisers;

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