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Pledges as a Social Influence Device: Experimental Evidence

Author

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  • Damien Besancenot

    (LIRAES - EA 4470 - Laboratoire Interdisciplinaire de Recherche Appliquée en Economie de la Santé - UPD5 - Université Paris Descartes - Paris 5, UPD5 - Université Paris Descartes - Paris 5)

  • Radu Vranceanu

    (THEMA - Théorie économique, modélisation et applications - UCP - Université de Cergy Pontoise - Université Paris-Seine - CNRS - Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique, ESSEC Business School - Essec Business School)

Abstract

This paper reports the results from a two-person "pledge and give" experiment. Each person's endowment is private information available only to him. In the first stage, each agent informs the other about the amount he intends to give, or makes a pledge. In the second stage, each agent makes a contribution to the joint donation. A simple theoretical model shows that in this game the equilibrium pledge function is linear in the endowment of each agent. Furthermore, if agents have a strong taste for conformity, the optimal gift is positively related to one's own endowment and to the pledge of his partner. Data from the lab experiment show that, indeed, subjects pledge approximately 60% of their endowment. Also, pledges have an important social influence role: an agent will increase his donation by 20 cents on average if his partner pledges one more euro.

Suggested Citation

  • Damien Besancenot & Radu Vranceanu, 2019. "Pledges as a Social Influence Device: Experimental Evidence," Working Papers hal-02176269, HAL.
  • Handle: RePEc:hal:wpaper:hal-02176269
    Note: View the original document on HAL open archive server: https://hal.archives-ouvertes.fr/hal-02176269
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    charity giving; conformity; strategic pledges; social influence;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • C92 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments - - - Laboratory, Group Behavior
    • D64 - Microeconomics - - Welfare Economics - - - Altruism; Philanthropy; Intergenerational Transfers
    • D83 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Search; Learning; Information and Knowledge; Communication; Belief; Unawareness

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