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Information and belief elicitation effects on charitable giving: An artefactual field experiment

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We examine by means of an artefactual field experiment on a representative sample of Italian adults, the impact of information and belief elicitation on charitable-giving when donors know (or express their beliefs on) what the organizations received in terms of aggregate donations in the past. We find that both effects are significant in terms of increase in the share of donors to a health related (bone marrow transplant) organization. The observed findings are consistent with expressed health wellbeing preferences of donors and with the gap between the organization position in the ranking of aggregate donations (last) and the far higher expected position of the same organization in donors’ beliefs. The effect is robust also in gender and age sample splits. Inequity aversion and warm glow depending on the expected marginal benefit of increased donations to the specific charity are two observationally equivalent explanations for our findings. Another related consequence of information disclosure is that the share of participants deciding not to donate at all becomes significantly lower when information on aggregate past donations is provided.

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Paper provided by Tor Vergata University, CEIS in its series CEIS Research Paper with number 306.

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Length: 44 pages
Date of creation: 11 Feb 2014
Date of revision: 11 Feb 2014
Handle: RePEc:rtv:ceisrp:306
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  1. Ernst Fehr & Klaus M. Schmidt, 1999. "A Theory of Fairness, Competition, and Cooperation," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 114(3), pages 817-868.
  2. John A. List & David Lucking-Reiley, 2002. "The Effects of Seed Money and Refunds on Charitable Giving: Experimental Evidence from a University Capital Campaign," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 110(1), pages 215-233, February.
  3. Konow, James, 2010. "Mixed feelings: Theories of and evidence on giving," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 94(3-4), pages 279-297, April.
  4. Dean Karlan & John A. List, 2007. "Does Price Matter in Charitable Giving? Evidence from a Large-Scale Natural Field Experiment," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 97(5), pages 1774-1793, December.
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  6. Andreoni, James & Petrie, Ragan, 2004. "Public goods experiments without confidentiality: a glimpse into fund-raising," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 88(7-8), pages 1605-1623, July.
  7. Mark Bagnoli & Barton L. Lipman, 1989. "Provision of Public Goods: Fully Implementing the Core through Private Contributions," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 56(4), pages 583-601.
  8. Andreoni, James, 1989. "Giving with Impure Altruism: Applications to Charity and Ricardian Equivalence," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 97(6), pages 1447-1458, December.
  9. Andreoni, James, 1990. "Impure Altruism and Donations to Public Goods: A Theory of Warm-Glow Giving?," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 100(401), pages 464-477, June.
  10. Pelligra, Vittorio & Stanca, Luca, 2013. "To give or not to give? Equity, efficiency and altruistic behavior in an artefactual field experiment," Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics (formerly The Journal of Socio-Economics), Elsevier, vol. 46(C), pages 1-9.
  11. John Morgan, 2000. "Financing Public Goods by Means of Lotteries," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 67(4), pages 761-784.
  12. Robin Cubitt & Chris Starmer & Robert Sugden, 1998. "On the Validity of the Random Lottery Incentive System," Experimental Economics, Springer;Economic Science Association, vol. 1(2), pages 115-131, September.
  13. Duncan, Brian, 2004. "A theory of impact philanthropy," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 88(9-10), pages 2159-2180, August.
  14. Rege, Mari & Telle, Kjetil, 2004. "The impact of social approval and framing on cooperation in public good situations," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 88(7-8), pages 1625-1644, July.
  15. Feldstein, Martin & Clotfelter, Charles, 1976. "Tax incentives and charitable contributions in the United States : A microeconometric analysis," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 5(1-2), pages 1-26.
  16. Sugden, Robert, 1984. "Reciprocity: The Supply of Public Goods through Voluntary Contributions," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 94(376), pages 772-787, December.
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