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Don't Tell Me What to Do, Tell Me Who to Follow! Field Experiment Evidence on Voluntary Donations

  • Alpizar, Francisco
  • Martinsson, Peter

We conducted a field experiment in a protected area to explore the effects of conformity to a social reference versus a comparable, but imposed, suggested donation. As observed before, we see visitors conforming to the changing social reference. On the other hand, the treatment in which we suggested a donation resulted in lower shares of visitors donating, compared to the social reference treatment, and lower conditional donations even compared to the control. We concluded that visitors look at their peers as a reference to conform to, but partially reject being confronted with an imposed suggestion on how to behave.

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Paper provided by Resources For the Future in its series Discussion Papers with number dp-10-16-efd.

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Date of creation: 18 Jun 2010
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Handle: RePEc:rff:dpaper:dp-10-16-efd
Contact details of provider: Web page: http://www.rff.org

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  1. Glazer, Amihai & Konrad, Kai A, 1996. "A Signaling Explanation for Charity," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 86(4), pages 1019-28, September.
  2. Armin Falk, 2007. "Gift Exchange in the Field," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 75(5), pages 1501-1511, 09.
  3. Ellingsen, Tore & Johannesson, Magnus, 2006. "Pride and Prejudice: The Human Side of Incentive Theory," CEPR Discussion Papers 5768, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  4. John List, 2008. "Introduction to field experiments in economics with applications to the economics of charity," Experimental Economics, Springer, vol. 11(3), pages 203-212, September.
  5. repec:feb:artefa:0105 is not listed on IDEAS
  6. Noah J. Goldstein & Robert B. Cialdini & Vladas Griskevicius, 2008. "A Room with a Viewpoint: Using Social Norms to Motivate Environmental Conservation in Hotels," Journal of Consumer Research, University of Chicago Press, vol. 35(3), pages 472-482, 03.
  7. Steven D. Levitt & John A. List, 2007. "What Do Laboratory Experiments Measuring Social Preferences Reveal About the Real World?," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 21(2), pages 153-174, Spring.
  8. Matthew Rabin., 1992. "Incorporating Fairness into Game Theory and Economics," Economics Working Papers 92-199, University of California at Berkeley.
  9. Alpizar, Francisco & Carlson, Fredrik & Johansson-Stenman, Olof, 2008. "Anonymity, Reciprocity, and Conformity: Evidence from Voluntary Contributions to a National Park in Costa Rica," Discussion Papers dp-08-03-efd, Resources For the Future.
  10. Claudia Keser & Frans A.A.M. van Winden, 2000. "Conditional Cooperation and Voluntary Contributions to Public Goods," Tinbergen Institute Discussion Papers 00-011/1, Tinbergen Institute.
  11. Uri Gneezy & Aldo Rustichini, 2000. "Pay Enough Or Don'T Pay At All," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 115(3), pages 791-810, August.
  12. Bruno S. Frey & Stephan Meier, . "Social Comparisons and Pro-social Behavior - Testing ‘Conditional Cooperation’ in a Field Experiment," IEW - Working Papers 162, Institute for Empirical Research in Economics - University of Zurich.
  13. Jen Shang & Rachel Croson, 2006. "The impact of social comparisons on nonprofit fundraising," Natural Field Experiments 00321, The Field Experiments Website.
  14. Claudia Keser & Frans A.A.M. van Winden, 2000. "Conditional Cooperation and Voluntary Contributions to Public Goods," Tinbergen Institute Discussion Papers 00-011/1, Tinbergen Institute.
  15. Martin, Richard & Randal, John, 2008. "How is donation behaviour affected by the donations of others?," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 67(1), pages 228-238, July.
  16. Keser, Claudia & van Winden, Frans, 2000. " Conditional Cooperation and Voluntary Contributions to Public Goods," Scandinavian Journal of Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 102(1), pages 23-39, March.
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