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Experimental Evidence of Self-Image Concerns as Motivation for Giving

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  • Tonin, Mirco

    () (Free University of Bozen/Bolzano)

  • Vlassopoulos, Michael

    () (University of Southampton)

Abstract

We conduct an experiment in which subjects make a series of decisions of allocating an endowment of £10 between themselves and a passive recipient that is either a charity or the experimenter. When making these decisions subjects are informed that one of them will be chosen randomly at the end to determine payoffs. After all decisions have been made and it has been revealed which decision will determine payoffs we offer subjects an opportunity to opt out from their initial decision and receive £10 instead. We find that around one third of subjects choose to opt out. The fact that a subject decides to revise a decision to give and chooses instead to exit and keep the whole amount – an option that was available when she made the first decision and was not exercised – indicates that giving in the first instance was not motivated solely by altruism toward the recipient. We argue that opting out indicates that giving is also motivated by self-image concerns.

Suggested Citation

  • Tonin, Mirco & Vlassopoulos, Michael, 2012. "Experimental Evidence of Self-Image Concerns as Motivation for Giving," IZA Discussion Papers 6388, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  • Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp6388
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Adena, Maja & Huck, Steffen, 2016. "Online fundraising, self-image, and the long-term impact of ask avoidance," Annual Conference 2016 (Augsburg): Demographic Change 145535, Verein für Socialpolitik / German Economic Association.
    2. Camerer, Colin F. & Ho, Teck-Hua, 2015. "Behavioral Game Theory Experiments and Modeling," Handbook of Game Theory with Economic Applications, Elsevier.
    3. Mirco Tonin & Michael Vlassopoulos, 2014. "An experimental investigation of intrinsic motivations for giving," Theory and Decision, Springer, vol. 76(1), pages 47-67, January.
    4. McManus, T. Clay & Rao, Justin M., 2015. "Signaling smarts? Revealed preferences for self and social perceptions of intelligence," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 110(C), pages 106-118.
    5. 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.
    6. Bruttel, Lisa & Stolley, Florian & Utikal, Verena, 2017. "Getting a Yes. An Experiment on the Power of Asking," MPRA Paper 79140, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    7. Friedrichsen, Jana & Engelmann, Dirk, 2013. "Who cares for social image? Interactions between intrinsic motivation and social image concerns," Annual Conference 2013 (Duesseldorf): Competition Policy and Regulation in a Global Economic Order 79746, Verein für Socialpolitik / German Economic Association.
    8. 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.
    9. David Ong & Chun-Lei Yang, 2014. "Pro Bono Work and Trust in Expert Fields," CESifo Working Paper Series 4897, CESifo Group Munich.
    10. Grossman, Zachary, 2015. "Self-signaling and social-signaling in giving," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 117(C), pages 26-39.
    11. repec:eee:joepsy:v:61:y:2017:i:c:p:134-144 is not listed on IDEAS
    12. Adena, Maja & Huck, Steffen, 2016. "Online fundraising, self-deception, and the long-term impact of ask avoidance," Discussion Papers, Research Unit: Economics of Change SP II 2016-306, Social Science Research Center Berlin (WZB).
    13. Holm, Hakan J. & Samahita, Margaret, 2016. "Curating Social Image: Experimental Evidence on the Value of Actions and Selfies," Working Papers 2016:8, Lund University, Department of Economics, revised 14 Nov 2016.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    self-image; dictator game; charitable giving; opting-out;

    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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