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Directed Giving: Evidence from an Inter-Household Transfer Experiment

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  • Catia Batista
  • Dan Silverman
  • Dean Yang

Abstract

We investigate the determinants of giving in a lab-in-the-field experiment with large stakes. Study participants in urban Mozambique play dictator games where their counterpart is the closest person to them outside their household. When given the option, dictators do a large fraction of giving in kind (in the form of goods) rather than cash. In addition, they share more in total when they have the option of giving in kind, compared to giving that can only be in cash. Qualitative post-experiment responses suggest that this effect is driven by a desire to control how recipients use gifted resources. Standard economic determinants such as the rate of return to giving and the size of the endowment also affect giving, but the effects of even large changes in these determinants are significantly smaller than the effect of the in-kind option. Our results support theories of giving where the utility of givers depends on the composition (not just the level) of gift-recipient expenditures, and givers thus seek control over transferred resources.

Suggested Citation

  • Catia Batista & Dan Silverman & Dean Yang, 2014. "Directed Giving: Evidence from an Inter-Household Transfer Experiment," NBER Working Papers 20605, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:20605
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    2. Dean Karlan, Aishwarya Lakshmi Ratan, Jonathan Zinman, 2013. "Savings by and for the Poor: A Research Review and Agenda-Working Paper 346," Working Papers 346, Center for Global Development.
    3. Chabé-Ferret, Bastien & Machado, Joël & Wahba, Jackline, 2018. "Remigration intentions and migrants' behavior," Regional Science and Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 68(C), pages 56-72.
    4. Dean Karlan & Aishwarya Lakshmi Ratan & Jonathan Zinman, 2014. "Savings by and for the Poor: A Research Review and Agenda," Review of Income and Wealth, International Association for Research in Income and Wealth, vol. 60(1), pages 36-78, March.
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    7. repec:eee:pubeco:v:158:y:2018:i:c:p:152-167 is not listed on IDEAS
    8. Bastien Chabé-Ferret & Joël Machado & Jackline Wahba, 2016. "Return Plans and Migrants' Behavior," Discussion Papers (IRES - Institut de Recherches Economiques et Sociales) 2016016, Université catholique de Louvain, Institut de Recherches Economiques et Sociales (IRES).
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    11. Eckel, Catherine C. & Herberich, David H. & Meer, Jonathan, 2017. "A field experiment on directed giving at a public university," Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics (formerly The Journal of Socio-Economics), Elsevier, vol. 66(C), pages 66-71.
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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • C92 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments - - - Laboratory, Group Behavior
    • C93 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments - - - Field Experiments
    • D01 - Microeconomics - - General - - - Microeconomic Behavior: Underlying Principles
    • D03 - Microeconomics - - General - - - Behavioral Microeconomics: Underlying Principles
    • D64 - Microeconomics - - Welfare Economics - - - Altruism; Philanthropy; Intergenerational Transfers
    • O17 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Formal and Informal Sectors; Shadow Economy; Institutional Arrangements

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