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An Experimental Investigation of Intrinsic Motivations for Giving

Author

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  • Tonin, Mirco

    () (Free University of Bozen/Bolzano)

  • Vlassopoulos, Michael

    () (University of Southampton)

Abstract

This paper presents results from a modified dictator experiment aimed at distinguishing and quantifying the two intrinsic motivations for giving: warm glow and pure altruism. In particular, we implemented a within-subject experimental design with three treatments: (i) one, T1, where the recipient is the experimenters, which measures altruistic feelings towards the experimenters, (ii) the Crumpler and Grossman (2008) design, T2, in which the recipient is a charity, and the dictator’s donation crowds out one-for-one a donation by the experimenters, which aims at measuring warm glow giving, (iii) a third one, T3, with a charity recipient and no crowding out, which elicits both types of altruism. We use T1 to assess to what extent altruistic feelings towards the experimenters are a potential confound for measuring warm glow in T2. We find giving in T1 not to be significantly different from T2, suggesting that the Crumpler and Grossman design provides an upper bound estimate of warm glow giving. We provide a lower bound estimate based on the behavior of subjects whose warm glow giving in T2 is not confounded, that is, those who do not display altruistic feelings towards the experimenters in T1. We use these two estimates to quantify the portion of giving in T3 due to pure altruism and find it to be between 20% and 26% of endowment. We also propose a new method of detecting warm glow motivation based on the idea that in a random-lottery incentive (RLI) scheme, such as the one we employ, warm glow accumulates and this may lead to satiation, whereas purely altruistic motivation does not.

Suggested Citation

  • Tonin, Mirco & Vlassopoulos, Michael, 2011. "An Experimental Investigation of Intrinsic Motivations for Giving," IZA Discussion Papers 5461, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  • Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp5461
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Ernst Fehr & Simon Gächter, 2000. "Fairness and Retaliation: The Economics of Reciprocity," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 14(3), pages 159-181, Summer.
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Kellner, Christian & Reinstein, David & Riener, Gerhard, 2015. "Stochastic income and conditional generosity," DICE Discussion Papers 197, University of Düsseldorf, Düsseldorf Institute for Competition Economics (DICE).
    2. repec:bri:cmpowp:13/336 is not listed on IDEAS
    3. repec:esx:essedp:762 is not listed on IDEAS
    4. repec:bri:cmpowp:14/336 is not listed on IDEAS
    5. Tonin, Mirco & Vlassopoulos, Michael, 2017. "Sharing one’s fortune? An experimental study on earned income and giving," Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics (formerly The Journal of Socio-Economics), Elsevier, vol. 66(C), pages 112-118.
    6. Lata Gangadharan & Philip J. Grossman & Kristy Jones, 2014. "Deconstructing Giving: Donor Types and How They Give," Monash Economics Working Papers 53-14, Monash University, Department of Economics.
    7. Kimberley Ann Scharf & Sarah Smith & Mark Ottoni-Wilhelm, 2017. "Lift and Shift: The Effect of Fundraising Interventions in Charity Space and Time," CESifo Working Paper Series 6694, CESifo Group Munich.
    8. Sutan, Angela & Grolleau, Gilles & Mateu, Guillermo & Vranceanu, Radu, 2018. "“Facta non verba”: An experiment on pledging and giving," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 65(C), pages 1-15.
    9. Kyriaki Remoundou & Andreas C. Drichoutis & Phoebe Koundouri, 2013. "Isolating Warm Glow in Charitable Auction Giving," GRI Working Papers 131, Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change and the Environment.
    10. Ferguson, Eamonn & Flynn, Niall, 2016. "Moral relativism as a disconnect between behavioural and experienced warm glow," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 56(C), pages 163-175.
    11. Tonin, Mirco & Vlassopoulos, Michael, 2013. "Experimental evidence of self-image concerns as motivation for giving," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 90(C), pages 19-27.
    12. Christian Kellner & David Reinstein & Gerhard Riener, 2017. "Conditional generosity and uncertain income: Evidence from five experiments," Discussion Papers 1707, Exeter University, Department of Economics.
    13. repec:bla:ecinqu:v:55:y:2017:i:2:p:996-1006 is not listed on IDEAS
    14. Banuri, Sheheryar & Keefer, Philip, 2016. "Pro-social motivation, effort and the call to public service," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 83(C), pages 139-164.
    15. repec:esx:essedp:749 is not listed on IDEAS
    16. Shachar Kariv & Daniel Lee & John List & Michael Price, 2016. "The Richness of Giving: Charity Selection and Charitable Gifts in a Large Field Experiment," Artefactual Field Experiments 00559, The Field Experiments Website.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    charitable giving; pure altruism; incentive scheme; dictator game; warm glow; random lottery;

    JEL classification:

    • C91 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments - - - Laboratory, Individual Behavior
    • D03 - Microeconomics - - General - - - Behavioral Microeconomics: Underlying Principles
    • D64 - Microeconomics - - Welfare Economics - - - Altruism; Philanthropy; Intergenerational Transfers

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