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Rebate Subsidies, Matching Subsidies and Isolation Effects

  • Douglas D. Davis


    (Department of Economics, VCU School of Business)

In a series of recent experiments (Davis, Millner and Reilly, 2005, Eckel and Grossman, 2003, 2005a-c, 2006), matching subsidies generate significantly higher charity receipts than do theoretically equivalent rebate subsidies. This paper reports a laboratory experiment conducted to examine whether the higher receipts are attributable to a relative preference for matching subsidies or to an ‘isolation effect’ (McCaffery and Baron, 2003, 2006). Some potential policy implications of isolation effects on charitable contributions are also considered.

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Paper provided by VCU School of Business, Department of Economics in its series Working Papers with number 0604.

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Length: 22 pages
Date of creation: Jun 2006
Date of revision:
Publication status: Published in Judgment and Decision-Making, 1, pages 13-22
Handle: RePEc:vcu:wpaper:0604
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  1. Catherine C. Eckel & Philip J. Grossman, 2006. "Subsidizing Charitable Contributions in the Field: Evidence from a Non-Secular Charity," Monash Economics Working Papers archive-44, Monash University, Department of Economics.
  2. James Andreoni & John Miller, 2002. "Giving According to GARP: An Experimental Test of the Consistency of Preferences for Altruism," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 70(2), pages 737-753, March.
  3. Catherine C. Eckel & Philip J. Grossman, 2006. "Do Donors Care about Subsidy Type? An Experimental Study," Monash Economics Working Papers archive-10, Monash University, Department of Economics.
  4. Catherine Eckel & Philip Grossman, 2005. "Subsidizing charitable contributions: A field test comparing matching and rebate subsidies," Framed Field Experiments 00145, The Field Experiments Website.
  5. Andreoni,J. & Vesterlund,L., 1998. "Which is the fair sex? : Gender differences in altruism," Working papers 10, Wisconsin Madison - Social Systems.
  6. Dean Karlan & John A. List, 2006. "Does Price Matter in Charitable Giving? Evidence from a Large-Scale Natural Field Experiment," Working Papers 1, The Field Experiments Website.
  7. McCaffery, Edward J. & Baron, Jonathan, 2003. "The Humpty Dumpty blues: Disaggregation bias in the evaluation of tax systems," Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, Elsevier, vol. 91(2), pages 230-242, July.
  8. Catherine C. Eckel & Philip J. Grossman, 2006. "Subsidizing Charitable Giving with Rebates or Matching: Further Laboratory Evidence," Southern Economic Journal, Southern Economic Association, vol. 72(4), pages 794–807, April.
  9. 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.
  10. Stephan Meier, 2006. "Do subsidies increase charitable giving in the long run?: matching donations in a field experiment," Working Papers 06-18, Federal Reserve Bank of Boston.
  11. Kahneman, Daniel & Knetsch, Jack L & Thaler, Richard, 1986. "Fairness as a Constraint on Profit Seeking: Entitlements in the Market," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 76(4), pages 728-41, September.
  12. Douglas Davis & Edward Millner & Robert Reilly, 2005. "Subsidy Schemes and Charitable Contributions: A Closer Look," Experimental Economics, Springer, vol. 8(2), pages 85-106, June.
  13. Kahneman, Daniel & Knetsch, Jack L., 1992. "Valuing public goods: The purchase of moral satisfaction," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 22(1), pages 57-70, January.
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