IDEAS home Printed from
MyIDEAS: Login to save this paper or follow this series

Competitive Charitable Giving and Optimal Public Policy with Multiple Equilibria

  • Sanjit Dhami


  • Ali al-Nowaihi


Consider a large number of small individuals contributing to a charity or to a public good. We study the properties of a competitive equilibrium in giving and allow for multiple equilibria. Our proposed condition, aggregate strategic complementarity, is a necessary condition for multiple equilibria. Consider two equilibria with low (L) and high (H) levels of giving. Comparative statics at L could be perverse (subsidies reduce giving) while those at H could be normal (subsidies induce giving), which rules out the use of incentives at L. We demonstrate how public policy, in the form of temporary direct government grants to charity can engineer a move from L to H. We use a welfare analysis to determine the optimal mix of private and public contributions to charity. Our paper contributes to the broader and more fundamental question of using public policy to engineer moves between multiple equilibria.

If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.

File URL:
Download Restriction: no

Paper provided by Department of Economics, University of Leicester in its series Discussion Papers in Economics with number 11/37.

in new window

Date of creation: Aug 2011
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:lec:leecon:11/37
Contact details of provider: Postal: Department of Economics University of Leicester, University Road. Leicester. LE1 7RH. UK
Phone: +44 (0)116 252 2887
Fax: +44 (0)116 252 2908
Web page:

More information through EDIRC

Order Information: Web: Email:

References listed on IDEAS
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:

as in new window
  1. Dean Karlan & John List, 2006. "Does price matter in charitable giving? Evidence from a large-scale natural field experiment," Natural Field Experiments 00279, The Field Experiments Website.
  2. Jan Potters & Martin Sefton & Lise Vesterlund, 2007. "Leading-by-example and signaling in voluntary contribution games: an experimental study," Economic Theory, Springer, vol. 33(1), pages 169-182, October.
  3. Richard Cornes & Roger Hartley, 2003. "Aggregative Public Goods Games," NajEcon Working Paper Reviews 666156000000000063,
  4. Daniel Rondeau & John List, 2008. "Matching and challenge gifts to charity: Evidence from laboratory and natural field experiments," Natural Field Experiments 00330, The Field Experiments Website.
  5. Thomas Garrett & Russell Rhine, 2010. "Government growth and private contributions to charity," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 143(1), pages 103-120, April.
  6. Roberto A. Weber, 2006. "Managing Growth to Achieve Efficient Coordination in Large Groups," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 96(1), pages 114-126, March.
  7. Murphy, Kevin M & Shleifer, Andrei & Vishny, Robert W, 1989. "Industrialization and the Big Push," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 97(5), pages 1003-26, October.
  8. James Andreoni & John Miller, 2002. "Giving According to GARP: An Experimental Test of the Consistency of Preferences for Altruism," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 70(2), pages 737-753, March.
Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:lec:leecon:11/37. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Mrs. Alexandra Mazzuoccolo)

If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.

If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

This information is provided to you by IDEAS at the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis using RePEc data.