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Why Do People Give? Testing Pure and Impure Altruism

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  • Mark Ottoni-Wilhelm
  • Lise Vesterlund
  • Huan Xie

Abstract

The extant experimental design to investigate warm glow and altruism elicits a single measure of crowd-out. Not recognizing that impure altruism predicts crowd-out is a function of giving-by-others, this design's power to reject pure altruism varies with the level of giving-by-others, and it cannot identify the strength of warm glow and altruism preferences. These limitations are addressed with a new design that elicits crowd-out at a low and at a high level of giving-by-others. Consistent with impure altruism we find decreasing crowd-out as giving-by-others increases. However warm glow is weak in our experiment and altruism largely explains why people give.

Suggested Citation

  • Mark Ottoni-Wilhelm & Lise Vesterlund & Huan Xie, 2014. "Why Do People Give? Testing Pure and Impure Altruism," NBER Working Papers 20497, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:20497
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    Cited by:

    1. repec:spr:jogath:v:47:y:2018:i:4:d:10.1007_s00182-018-0616-z is not listed on IDEAS
    2. Lata Gangadharan & Philip J. Grossman & Kristy Jones, 2014. "Deconstructing Giving: Donor Types and How They Give," Monash Economics Working Papers 53-14, Monash University, Department of Economics.
    3. Osório, António (António Miguel), 2017. "Self-interest and Equity Concerns: A Behavioural Allocation Rule for Operational Problems," Working Papers 2072/290757, Universitat Rovira i Virgili, Department of Economics.
    4. repec:eee:jeborg:v:153:y:2018:i:c:p:177-193 is not listed on IDEAS
    5. Carpenter, Jeffrey P., 2018. "The Shape of Warm Glow: Field Experimental Evidence from a Fundraiser," IZA Discussion Papers 11760, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    6. repec:eee:pubeco:v:169:y:2019:i:c:p:1-16 is not listed on IDEAS
    7. Arbel, Yuval & Bar-El, Ronen & Schwarz, Mordechai E. & Tobol, Yossi, 2019. "To What Do People Contribute? Ongoing Operations vs. Sustainable Supplies," IZA Discussion Papers 12180, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    8. Mark Ottoni-Wilhelm & Lise Vesterlund & Huan Xie, 2017. "Why Do People Give? Testing Pure and Impure Altruism," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 107(11), pages 3617-3633, November.
    9. Osório, António, 2017. "Self-interest and equity concerns: A behavioural allocation rule for operational problems," European Journal of Operational Research, Elsevier, vol. 261(1), pages 205-213.
    10. Daniel M. Hungerman & Mark Ottoni-Wilhelm, 2018. "Impure Impact Giving: Theory and Evidence," Working Papers id:12906, eSocialSciences.
    11. Marx, Benjamin M., 2015. "Has regulation of charitable foundations thrown the baby out with the bath water?," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 129(C), pages 63-76.
    12. Jipeng Zhang & Elizabeth Brown & Huan Xie, 2019. "The Effect of Religious Priming in Pro-social and Destructive Behavior," CIRANO Working Papers 2019s-06, CIRANO.
    13. Zhang, Yinjunjie & Xu, Zhicheng & Palma, Marco, 2018. "Conveniently Dependent or Naively Overconfident? An Experimental Study on the Reaction to External Help," MPRA Paper 93899, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    14. Jonathan Morduch & Ariane Szafarz, 2018. "Earning to Give: Occupational Choice for Effective Altruists," Working Papers CEB 18-017, ULB -- Universite Libre de Bruxelles.
    15. Michalis Drouvelis & Benjamin M. Marx, 2019. "Dimensions of Donation Preferences: The Structure of Peer and Income Effects," CESifo Working Paper Series 7496, CESifo Group Munich.
    16. Lionel Richefort, 2018. "Warm-glow giving in networks with multiple public goods," International Journal of Game Theory, Springer;Game Theory Society, vol. 47(4), pages 1211-1238, November.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

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

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