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Is a Donor in Hand Better than Two in the Bush? Evidence from a Natural Field Experiment

Author

Listed:
  • Craig E. Landry
  • Andreas Lange
  • John A. List
  • Michael K. Price
  • Nicholas G. Rupp

Abstract

This study develops theory and conducts an experiment to provide an understanding of why people initially give to charities, why they remain committed to the cause, and what factors attenuate these influences. Using an experimental design that links donations across distinct treatments separated in time, we present several insights. For example, we find that previous donors are more likely to give, and contribute more, than donors asked to contribute for the first time. Yet, how these previous donors were acquired is critical: agents who are initially attracted by signals of charitable quality transmitted via an economic mechanism are much more likely to continue giving than agents who were initially attracted by non-mechanism factors.

Suggested Citation

  • Craig E. Landry & Andreas Lange & John A. List & Michael K. Price & Nicholas G. Rupp, 2008. "Is a Donor in Hand Better than Two in the Bush? Evidence from a Natural Field Experiment," NBER Working Papers 14319, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:14319
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. repec:eee:joepsy:v:64:y:2018:i:c:p:57-72 is not listed on IDEAS
    2. Andreas Löschel & Dirk Rübbelke, 2014. "On the Voluntary Provision of International Public Goods," Economica, London School of Economics and Political Science, vol. 81(322), pages 195-204, April.
    3. Boyer, Pierre C. & Dwenger, Nadja & Rincke, Johannes, 2016. "Do norms on contribution behavior affect intrinsic motivation? Field-experimental evidence from Germany," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 144(C), pages 140-153.
    4. Krieg, Justin & Samek, Anya, 2017. "When charities compete: A laboratory experiment with simultaneous public goods," Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics (formerly The Journal of Socio-Economics), Elsevier, vol. 66(C), pages 40-57.
    5. ITO Koichiro & IDA Takanori & TANAKA Makoto, 2015. "The Persistence of Moral Suasion and Economic Incentives: Field experimental evidence from energy demand," Discussion papers 15014, Research Institute of Economy, Trade and Industry (RIETI).
    6. Meer, Jonathan, 2017. "Does fundraising create new giving?," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 145(C), pages 82-93.
    7. Karlan, Dean & List, Jonathan A., 2012. "How Can Bill and Melinda Gates Increase Other People's Donations to Fund Public Goods?," Working Papers 101, Yale University, Department of Economics.
    8. Altmann, Steffen & Traxler, Christian, 2014. "Nudges at the dentist," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 72(C), pages 19-38.
    9. repec:eee:eecrev:v:96:y:2017:i:c:p:48-61 is not listed on IDEAS
    10. Carpenter, Jeffrey P. & Matthews, Peter Hans, 2015. "Incentives and the Design of Charitable Fundraisers: Lessons from a Field Experiment," IZA Discussion Papers 8952, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    11. Craig E. Landry & Andreas Lange & John A. List & Michael K. Price & Nicholas G. Rupp, 2011. "Is There a 'Hidden Cost of Control' in Naturally-Occurring Markets? Evidence from a Natural Field Experiment," NBER Working Papers 17472, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    12. Al-Ubaydli, Omar & Yeomans, Mike, 2017. "Do people donate more when they perceive a single beneficiary whom they know? A field experimental test of the identifiability effect," Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics (formerly The Journal of Socio-Economics), Elsevier, vol. 66(C), pages 96-103.
    13. repec:eee:soceco:v:69:y:2017:i:c:p:18-28 is not listed on IDEAS
    14. Carpenter, Jeffrey, 2017. "The sequencing of gift exchange: A field trial," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 139(C), pages 26-31.
    15. Sieg, Holger & Zhang, Jipeng, 2012. "The importance of managerial capacity in fundraising: Evidence from land conservation charities," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 30(6), pages 724-734.
    16. Dean Karlan and John A. List, 2012. "How Can Bill and Melinda Gates Increase Other People’s Donations to Fund Public Goods? - Working Paper 292," Working Papers 292, Center for Global Development.
    17. Craig Landry & Andreas Lange & John List & Michael Price & Nicholas Rupp, 2011. "The Hidden Benefits of Control: Evidence from a Natural Field Experiment," Natural Field Experiments 00594, The Field Experiments Website.
    18. Jean-Pierre Dubé & Xueming Luo & Zheng Fang, 2015. "Self-Signaling and Prosocial Behavior: a Cause Marketing Mobile Field Experiment," NBER Working Papers 21475, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    19. Thomas Mayer, 2012. "Ziliak and McClosky?s Criticisms of Significance Tests: A Damage Assessment," Working Papers 126, University of California, Davis, Department of Economics.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • C93 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments - - - Field Experiments
    • H41 - Public Economics - - Publicly Provided Goods - - - Public Goods
    • Q5 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Environmental Economics

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