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On the Channels of Pro-Social Behavior Evidence from a natural field experiment


  • Hannes Koppel

    () (Max-Planck-Institute of Economics, Jena)

  • Günther G. Schulze

    () (Albert-Ludwigs-University Freiburg)


We conduct a natural field experiment on direct and indirect transfer mechanisms for small donations. Charitable contributions are significantly higher if made indirectly, i.e. if they are tied to the purchase of a good sold at a premium, than if they are made directly. Donations are signficantly higher under both transfer mechanisms if people are given a suggested reference donatio

Suggested Citation

  • Hannes Koppel & Günther G. Schulze, 2009. "On the Channels of Pro-Social Behavior Evidence from a natural field experiment," Jena Economic Research Papers 2009-102, Friedrich-Schiller-University Jena.
  • Handle: RePEc:jrp:jrpwrp:2009-102

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. John List, 2008. "Introduction to field experiments in economics with applications to the economics of charity," Experimental Economics, Springer;Economic Science Association, vol. 11(3), pages 203-212, September.
    2. Glenn W. Harrison & John A. List, 2004. "Field Experiments," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 42(4), pages 1009-1055, December.
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    4. Briers, Barbara & Pandelaere, Mario & Warlop, Luk, 2007. "Adding exchange to charity: A reference price explanation," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 28(1), pages 15-30, January.
    5. Dean Karlan & John A. List, 2007. "Does Price Matter in Charitable Giving? Evidence from a Large-Scale Natural Field Experiment," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 97(5), pages 1774-1793, December.
    6. Barbara Briers & M. Pandelaere & L. Warlop, 2007. "Adding exchange to charity: a reference price explanation," Post-Print halshs-00126759, HAL.
    7. Desmet, Pierre & Feinberg, Fred M., 2003. "Ask and ye shall receive: The effect of the appeals scale on consumers' donation behavior," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 24(3), pages 349-376, June.
    8. Andreoni, James & Petrie, Ragan, 2004. "Public goods experiments without confidentiality: a glimpse into fund-raising," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 88(7-8), pages 1605-1623, July.
    9. Briers, B.M.E. & Pandelaere, M. & Warlop, L., 2007. "Adding exchange to charity : A reference price explanation," Other publications TiSEM 7b0069ad-8251-4e7d-82ba-a, Tilburg University, School of Economics and Management.
    10. Branas-Garza, Pablo, 2007. "Promoting helping behavior with framing in dictator games," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 28(4), pages 477-486, August.
    11. Chen Yan & Li Xin & MacKie-Mason Jeffrey K, 2005. "Online Fund-Raising Mechanisms: A Field Experiment," The B.E. Journal of Economic Analysis & Policy, De Gruyter, vol. 5(2), pages 1-39, December.
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    13. Soetevent, Adriaan R., 2005. "Anonymity in giving in a natural context--a field experiment in 30 churches," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 89(11-12), pages 2301-2323, December.
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    15. Armin Falk, 2007. "Gift Exchange in the Field," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 75(5), pages 1501-1511, September.
    16. John A. List & Robert P. Berrens & Alok K. Bohara & Joe Kerkvliet, 2004. "Examining the Role of Social Isolation on Stated Preferences," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 94(3), pages 741-752, June.
    17. Schokkaert, Erik, 2006. "The Empirical Analysis of Transfer Motives," Handbook on the Economics of Giving, Reciprocity and Altruism, Elsevier.
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    Cited by:

    1. 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.

    More about this item


    Tied versus untied transfers; charitable donations; charity; willingness to give; pro social behavior;

    JEL classification:

    • D64 - Microeconomics - - Welfare Economics - - - Altruism; Philanthropy; Intergenerational Transfers
    • C93 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments - - - Field Experiments
    • H41 - Public Economics - - Publicly Provided Goods - - - Public Goods

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