The Demand for Products Linked to Public Goods: Evidence from an Online Field Experiment
We conduct a field experiment at a nonprofit organization’s online store to study how demand changes when consumers’ purchases generate revenue for a charitable cause. Consumers respond strongly when their purchases generate small donations by an anonymous outside group, but responses are substantially weaker when the outside donations are relatively large. Responses are also strong when the outside donation requires a personal donation which consumers generally decline. Overall, increasing the salience of financial incentives appears to dampen consumers’ responses to charitable messages. We also present evidence that the donation pledges reduce price sensitivity and have positive long-term effects on demand.
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