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Subsidizing Charitable Contributions in the Field: Evidence from a Non-Secular Charity

  • Catherine C. Eckel
  • Philip J. Grossman

This paper reports results from a field study comparing the effects of rebates and matching subsidies for charitable contributions. The study was conducted in conjunction with Lutheran Social Services of Minnesota, a religiously affiliated social services charity. The field experiment has three main treatments: a baseline with no subsidy, a rebate to donors of a portion of their contribution to the charity, and an equivalent matching contribution. Within each subsidy treatment there are two rates of subsidy: 20 and 25 percent rebates and 25 and 33 percent matches. We report results that for the most part validate prior laboratory experiments. These results suggest that replacing the current tax rebate system with a matching program of equal cost could increase total giving to charitable organizations.

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Paper provided by Monash University, Department of Economics in its series Monash Economics Working Papers with number archive-44.

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Date of creation: 2006
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:mos:moswps:archive-44
Contact details of provider: Postal: Department of Economics, Monash University, Victoria 3800, Australia
Phone: +61-3-9905-2493
Fax: +61-3-9905-5476
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  1. Catherine C. Eckel & Philip J. Grossman, 2006. "Subsidizing Charitable Giving with Rebates or Matching: Further Laboratory Evidence," Southern Economic Journal, Southern Economic Association, vol. 72(4), pages 794–807, April.
  2. Catherine Eckel & Philip Grossman, 2005. "Subsidizing charitable contributions: A field test comparing matching and rebate subsidies," Framed Field Experiments 00145, The Field Experiments Website.
  3. Douglas D. Davis & Edward L. Millner, 2004. "Rebates, Matches, and Consumer Behavior," Working Papers 0401, VCU School of Business, Department of Economics.
  4. Catherine C. Eckel & Philip J. Grossman, 2006. "Do Donors Care about Subsidy Type? An Experimental Study," Monash Economics Working Papers archive-10, Monash University, Department of Economics.
  5. Clotfelter, Charles T, 1980. "Tax Incentives and Charitable Giving: Evidence from a Panel of Taxpayers," Empirical Economics, Springer, vol. 13(3), pages 319-40, June.
  6. Barrett, Kevin S. & McGuirk, Anya M. & Steinberg, Richard S., 1997. "Further Evidence on the Dynamic Impact of Taxes on Charitable Giving," National Tax Journal, National Tax Association, vol. 50(2), pages 321-34, June.
  7. Tiehen, Laura, 2001. "Tax Policy and Charitable Contributions of Money," National Tax Journal, National Tax Association, vol. 54(n. 4), pages 707-23, December.
  8. Douglas Davis & Edward Millner & Robert Reilly, 2005. "Subsidy Schemes and Charitable Contributions: A Closer Look," Experimental Economics, Springer, vol. 8(2), pages 85-106, June.
  9. Clotfelter, Charles T., 1980. "Tax incentives and charitable giving: evidence from a panel of taxpayers," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 13(3), pages 319-340, June.
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