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Dire Straits v The Cure: Emphasising the Problem or the Solution in Charitable Fundraising for International Development

Author

Listed:
  • Jeremy Clark

    () (University of Canterbury)

  • Arlene Garces-Ozanne

    () (University of Otago)

  • Stephen Knowles

    () (University of Otago)

Abstract

We conduct a laboratory experiment to test the effect on charitable donations to international development NGOs (INGOs) of emphasising current deprivation in a developing country, versus emphasising the potential good a donation can achieve. Using a double-blind dictator experiment with earned endowments, we find that varying the information/emphasis has no significant effect on total donations, or on the probability of donating. An emphasis on current deprivation does, however, significantly raise the variance of donations, so that conditional on donating, it significantly raises donations compared to emphasising potential gains from the charity’s work.

Suggested Citation

  • Jeremy Clark & Arlene Garces-Ozanne & Stephen Knowles, 2016. "Dire Straits v The Cure: Emphasising the Problem or the Solution in Charitable Fundraising for International Development," Working Papers 1608, University of Otago, Department of Economics, revised Oct 2016.
  • Handle: RePEc:otg:wpaper:1608
    as

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    File URL: http://www.otago.ac.nz/economics/otago623533.pdf
    File Function: First version, 2016
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. David Fielding & Stephen Knowles, 2015. "Can you spare some change for charity? Experimental evidence on verbal cues and loose change effects in a Dictator Game," Experimental Economics, Springer;Economic Science Association, vol. 18(4), pages 718-730, December.
    2. 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.
    3. Karlan, Dean & McConnell, Margaret A., 2014. "Hey look at me: The effect of giving circles on giving," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 106(C), pages 402-412.
    4. Douglas D. Davis, 2006. "Rebate subsidies, matching subsidies and isolation effects," Judgment and Decision Making, Society for Judgment and Decision Making, vol. 1, pages 13-22, July.
    5. Eckel, Catherine C. & Grossman, Philip J., 2003. "Rebate versus matching: does how we subsidize charitable contributions matter?," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 87(3-4), pages 681-701, March.
    6. Jeffrey Carpenter & Cristina Connolly & Caitlin Myers, 2008. "Altruistic behavior in a representative dictator experiment," Experimental Economics, Springer;Economic Science Association, vol. 11(3), pages 282-298, September.
    7. Knowles, Stephen & Servátka, Maroš, 2015. "Transaction costs, the opportunity cost of time and procrastination in charitable giving," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 125(C), pages 54-63.
    8. Etang, Alvin & Fielding, David & Knowles, Stephen, 2012. "Giving to Africa and perceptions of poverty," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 33(4), pages 819-832.
    9. Fernando Aguiar & Pablo Brañas-Garza & Luis M. Miller, 2008. "Moral distance in dictator games," Judgment and Decision Making, Society for Judgment and Decision Making, vol. 3, pages 344-354, April.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    More about this item

    Keywords

    charitable giving; dictator game; message strategy;

    JEL classification:

    • C91 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments - - - Laboratory, Individual Behavior
    • D64 - Microeconomics - - Welfare Economics - - - Altruism; Philanthropy; Intergenerational Transfers

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