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Ambiguity and excuse-driven behavior in charitable giving

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  • Thomas Garcia

    (Univ Lyon, Université Lumière Lyon 2, GATE L-SE UMR 5824, F-69130 Ecully, France; QuBE - School of Economics and Finance, QUT, Brisbane, Australia)

  • Sébastien Massoni

    (QuBE - School of Economics, Finance and Australian Centre for Entrepreneurship Research, QUT, Brisbane, Australia)

  • Marie Claire Villeval

    (Univ Lyon, CNRS, GATE L-SE UMR 5824, F-69131 Ecully, France ; IZA, Bonn, Germany)

Abstract

A donation may have ambiguous costs or ambiguous benefits. In a laboratory experiment, we show that individuals use this ambiguity strategically as a moral wiggle room to behave less generously without feeling guilty. Such excuse-driven behavior is more pronounced when the costs of a donation -rather than its benefits- are ambiguous. However, the importance of excuse-driven behavior is comparable under ambiguity and under risk. Individuals exploit any type of uncertainty as an excuse not to give, regardless of the nature of this uncertainty.

Suggested Citation

  • Thomas Garcia & Sébastien Massoni & Marie Claire Villeval, 2018. "Ambiguity and excuse-driven behavior in charitable giving," Working Papers 1826, Groupe d'Analyse et de Théorie Economique Lyon St-Étienne (GATE Lyon St-Étienne), Université de Lyon.
  • Handle: RePEc:gat:wpaper:1826
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    4. Zheng, Kaiming & Wang, Xiaoyuan & Ni, Debing, 2021. "Reciprocity information and wage personalization," China Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 68(C).
    5. Billur Aksoy & Silvana Krasteva, 2020. "When does less information translate into more giving to public goods?," Experimental Economics, Springer;Economic Science Association, vol. 23(4), pages 1148-1177, December.
    6. Claire Rimbaud & Alice Soldà, 2021. "Avoiding the Cost of your Conscience: Belief Dependent Preferences and Information Acquisition," Working Papers halshs-03325963, HAL.
    7. Daniela Costa & Nuno Fernandes & Joana Arantes & José Keating, 2022. "A dual-process approach to prosocial behavior under COVID-19 uncertainty," PLOS ONE, Public Library of Science, vol. 17(3), pages 1-18, March.
    8. Danae Arroyos-Calvera & Rebecca McDonald & Daniel Read & Bruce Rigal, 2020. "Unpacking moral wiggle room: Information preferences and not information itself predict generosity," Discussion Papers 20-19, Department of Economics, University of Birmingham.
    9. Natalie Struwe & James M. Walker & Esther Blanco, 2021. "Competition Among Public Good Providers for Donor Rewards," Working Papers 2021-29, Faculty of Economics and Statistics, University of Innsbruck.
    10. Blanco, Esther & Baier, Alexandra & Holzmeister, Felix & Jaber-Lopez, Tarek & Struwe, Natalie, 2022. "Substitution of social sustainability concerns under the Covid-19 pandemic," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 192(C).
    11. Christine L. Exley & Judd B. Kessler, 2019. "Motivated Errors," NBER Working Papers 26595, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    12. Jay J. Van Bavel & Katherine Baicker & Paulo S. Boggio & Valerio Capraro & Aleksandra Cichocka & Mina Cikara & Molly J. Crockett & Alia J. Crum & Karen M. Douglas & James N. Druckman & John Drury & Oe, 2020. "Using social and behavioural science to support COVID-19 pandemic response," Nature Human Behaviour, Nature, vol. 4(5), pages 460-471, May.
    13. Abhinash Borah, 2021. "Moral Hypocrisy in Social Preferences," Working Papers 53, Ashoka University, Department of Economics.
    14. Cyril Atkinson-Clement & Eléonore Pigalle, 2021. "What can we learn from Covid-19 pandemic’s impact on human behaviour? The case of France’s lockdown," Palgrave Communications, Palgrave Macmillan, vol. 8(1), pages 1-12, December.
    15. Banerjee, Ritwik & Boly, Amadou & Gillanders, Robert, 2022. "Anti-tax evasion, anti-corruption and public good provision: An experimental analysis of policy spillovers," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 197(C), pages 179-194.
    16. Brañas-Garza, Pablo & Kovářík, Jaromír & Lopez-Martin, Maria del Carmen, 2020. "No moral wiggles in e5 and e1,000 dictator games under ambiguity," MPRA Paper 98132, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    17. Diya Elizabeth Abraham & Luca Corazzini & Miloš Fišar & Tommaso Reggiani, 2021. "Delegation and Overhead Aversion with Multiple Threshold Public Goods," MUNI ECON Working Papers 2021-14, Masaryk University.

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Ambiguity; excuse-driven behavior; charitable giving; social preferences; experiment;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • C91 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments - - - Laboratory, Individual Behavior
    • D64 - Microeconomics - - Welfare Economics - - - Altruism; Philanthropy; Intergenerational Transfers
    • D81 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Criteria for Decision-Making under Risk and Uncertainty

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