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Hey Look at Me: The Effect of Giving Circles on Giving

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  • Dean Karlan
  • Margaret A. McConnell

Abstract

Theories abound for why individuals give to charity. We conduct a field experiment with donors to a Yale University service club to test the impact of a promise of public recognition on giving. Some may claim that they respond to an offer of public recognition not to improve their social standing, but rather to motivate others to give. To tease apart these two theories, we conduct a laboratory experiment with undergraduates, and find no evidence to support the alternative, altruistic motivation. We conclude that charitable gifts increase in response to the promise of public recognition primarily because of individuals' desire to improve their social image.

Suggested Citation

  • Dean Karlan & Margaret A. McConnell, 2012. "Hey Look at Me: The Effect of Giving Circles on Giving," NBER Working Papers 17737, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:17737
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
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    Blog mentions

    As found by EconAcademics.org, the blog aggregator for Economics research:
    1. Egoistic giving
      by Economic Logician in Economic Logic on 2012-02-01 21:13:00

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    Cited by:

    1. Stephen Knowles & Maroš Servátka, 2014. "Transaction costs, the Opportunity Cost of Time and Inertia in Charitable Giving:," Working Papers 1401, University of Otago, Department of Economics, revised Jan 2014.
    2. Guodong Gao & Tianshu Sun & Ginger Zhe Jin, 2015. "Mobile Messaging for Offline Social Interactions: A Large Field Expeiment," Natural Field Experiments 00571, The Field Experiments Website.
    3. Dwenger, Nadja & Kleven, Henrik & Rasul, Imran & Rincke, Johannes, 2014. "Extrinsic vs Intrinsic Motivations for Tax Compliance. Evidence from a Randomized Field Experiment in Germany," Annual Conference 2014 (Hamburg): Evidence-based Economic Policy 100389, Verein für Socialpolitik / German Economic Association.
    4. repec:bla:ecinqu:v:55:y:2017:i:1:p:397-408 is not listed on IDEAS
    5. Ashraf, Nava & Bandiera, Oriana & Jack, B. Kelsey, 2014. "No margin, no mission? A field experiment on incentives for public service delivery," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 120(C), pages 1-17.
    6. Anya Samek & Roman M. Sheremeta, 2017. "Selective Recognition: How to Recognize Donors to Increase Charitable Giving," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 55(3), pages 1489-1496, July.
    7. Anthony B. Atkinson & Peter G. Backus & John Micklewright & Cathy Pharoah & Sylke V. Schnepf, 2012. "Charitable giving for overseas development: UK trends over a quarter century," Journal of the Royal Statistical Society Series A, Royal Statistical Society, vol. 175(1), pages 167-190, January.
    8. Clingingsmith, David & Sheremeta, Roman, 2015. "Status and the Demand for Visible Goods: Experimental Evidence on Conspicuous Consumption," MPRA Paper 68202, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    9. Dean Karlan & John A List, 2012. "How Can Bill and Melinda Gates Increase Other People’s Donations to Fund Public Goods?," Working Papers id:4880, eSocialSciences.
    10. repec:bri:cmpowp:13/326 is not listed on IDEAS
    11. 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.
    12. Karlan, Dean & Wood, Daniel H., 2017. "The effect of effectiveness: Donor response to aid effectiveness in a direct mail fundraising experiment," Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics (formerly The Journal of Socio-Economics), Elsevier, vol. 66(C), pages 1-8.
    13. Castillo, Marco & Petrie, Ragan & Wardell, Clarence, 2014. "Fundraising through online social networks: A field experiment on peer-to-peer solicitation," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 114(C), pages 29-35.
    14. He, Haoran & Villeval, Marie Claire, 2017. "Are group members less inequality averse than individual decision makers?," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 138(C), pages 111-124.
    15. Jack, B. Kelsey & Recalde, María P., 2015. "Leadership and the voluntary provision of public goods: Field evidence from Bolivia," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 122(C), pages 80-93.
    16. Jana Gallus, 2016. "Fostering Voluntary Contributions to a Public Good: A Large-Scale Natural Field Experiment at Wikipedia," Natural Field Experiments 00552, The Field Experiments Website.
    17. 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.
    18. Manuel Foerster & Joel (J.J.) van der Weele, 2018. "Denial and Alarmism in Collective Action Problems," Tinbergen Institute Discussion Papers 18-019/I, Tinbergen Institute.
    19. Jingping Li & Yohanes E. Riyanto, 2017. "Category Reporting In Charitable Giving: An Experimental Analysis," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 55(1), pages 397-408, January.
    20. Michael Sanders & Sarah Smith, 2014. "A warm glow in the after life? The determinants of charitable bequests," The Centre for Market and Public Organisation 14/326, Department of Economics, University of Bristol, UK.
    21. Tianshu Sun & Guodong (Gordon) Gao & Ginger Zhe Jin, 2015. "Mobile Messaging for Offline Group Formation in Prosocial Activities: A Large Field Experiment," NBER Working Papers 21704, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • H0 - Public Economics - - General
    • J01 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - General - - - Labor Economics: General

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