Category Reporting in Charitable Giving: An Experimental Analysis
Harbaugh (1998a) has shown theoretically that charities can increase the size of donations by publicly acknowledging their donors using categories. In a complementary paper,using the data on the donations given by 146 lawyers to their almamater law school, Harbaugh (1998b) provided empirical support for this theoretical assertion. Essentially, being acknowledged in categories gives donors some prestige benefits. In this paper, we experimentally investigate the impact of various reporting plans as described in Harbaugh (1998a and 1998b) on the behavior of donors. Our results show that, although the category reporting plan has no significant impact on the size of donations when compared to the exact reporting plan and the no reporting plan, it does signi�ficantly alter the charitable behavior of donors. We show that the presence of a category reporting plan induces the clustering of donations on the lower boundaries of categories, which suggests that donors are motivated by prestige. We also discover that in some circumstances the presence of prestige benefi�ts crowds out the warm glow motive for giving.
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