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Too many charities? Insight from an experiment with multiple public goods and contribution thresholds

Author

Listed:
  • Luca Corazzini

    (Department of Economics and Management, University of Padua)

  • Christopher Cotton

    (Department of Economics, University of Miami)

  • Paola Valbonesi

    (Department of Economics and Management, University of Padua)

Abstract

We present results from an experiment with multiple public goods, where each good produces benefits only if total contributions to it reach a minimum threshold. The experiment allows us to compare contributions in a benchmark treatment with a single public good and in treatments with more public goods than can be funded. The presence of multiple public goods makes coordination among participants more difficult, discouraging contributions, and decreasing the likelihood of any public good being effectively funded. Multiplicity decreases funding unless one public good stands out as being the most efficient alternative. Applied to the case of philanthropy, the results show how overall donations and the number of effectively funded charities may both decrease as the total number of charities increase. This is true even if the new charities offer higher potential benefits than previous options.

Suggested Citation

  • Luca Corazzini & Christopher Cotton & Paola Valbonesi, 2013. "Too many charities? Insight from an experiment with multiple public goods and contribution thresholds," Working Papers 2013-13, University of Miami, Department of Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:mia:wpaper:2013-13
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    File URL: http://www.bus.miami.edu/_assets/files/repec/WP2103-13.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Kohei Nitta, 2014. "The Effect of Income Heterogeneity in An Experiment with Global and Local Public Goods," Working Papers 201403, University of Hawaii at Manoa, Department of Economics.
    2. James Andreoni & Laura Gee, 2015. "Gunning for efficiency with third party enforcement in threshold public goods," Experimental Economics, Springer;Economic Science Association, vol. 18(1), pages 154-171, March.
    3. Marianna Baggio & Luigi Mittone, 2015. "Grandparents Matter: Perspectives on Intergenerational Altruism. An Experiment on Family Dynamic Spillovers in Public Goods Games," CEEL Working Papers 1502, Cognitive and Experimental Economics Laboratory, Department of Economics, University of Trento, Italia.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Threshold public goods; multiple public goods; laboratory experiment; fundraising; charitable giving;

    JEL classification:

    • C91 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments - - - Laboratory, Individual Behavior
    • C92 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments - - - Laboratory, Group Behavior
    • H40 - Public Economics - - Publicly Provided Goods - - - General
    • H41 - Public Economics - - Publicly Provided Goods - - - Public Goods

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