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Pushed by the crowd or pulled by the leaders? Peer effects in Pay-What-You-Want

Author

Listed:
  • Michal Krawczyk

    () (Faculty of Economic Sciences, University of Warsaw)

  • Anna Kukla-Gryz

    () (Faculty of Economic Sciences, University of Warsaw)

  • Joanna Tyrowicz

    () (Faculty of Economic Sciences, University of Warsaw; National Bank of Poland)

Abstract

Literature on charitable giving often finds that seed money matters: the example of a wealthy donor is followed by others (List and Lucking-Riley, 2002). Nearly all relevant theoretical accounts (e.g. that leaders possess superior information on quality of the project) seem to apply to the closely related environment of Pay-What-You-Want mechanisms as well. Yet, as far as we can tell, no empirical study has tested for that until now. To fill this gap, we analyze data from 16 campaigns of BookRage (an equivalent of Humble Bundle, offering bundles of e-books). We make use of the fact that a fixed number of currently highest contributions are always displayed (along with mean contribution and total amount raised). Thus a discontinuity may be expected: contributions that are displayed might directly affect subsequent donors' behavior, in contrast to just slightly lower donations that are only observable as a (small) change in mean contribution. We find that the example of leaders makes no impact on willingness to purchase and amount paid. By contrast, the mean of past contributions has a positive impact on current contribution, yet a negative impact on the probability of contributing.

Suggested Citation

  • Michal Krawczyk & Anna Kukla-Gryz & Joanna Tyrowicz, 2015. "Pushed by the crowd or pulled by the leaders? Peer effects in Pay-What-You-Want," Working Papers 2015-25, Faculty of Economic Sciences, University of Warsaw.
  • Handle: RePEc:war:wpaper:2015-25
    as

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    File URL: http://www.wne.uw.edu.pl/index.php/download_file/1880/
    File Function: First version, 2015
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Jan Potters & Martin Sefton & Lise Vesterlund, 2007. "Leading-by-example and signaling in voluntary contribution games: an experimental study," Economic Theory, Springer;Society for the Advancement of Economic Theory (SAET), vol. 33(1), pages 169-182, October.
    2. Craig E. Landry & Andreas Lange & John A. List & Michael K. Price & Nicholas G. Rupp, 2006. "Toward an Understanding of the Economics of Charity: Evidence from a Field Experiment," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 121(2), pages 747-782.
    3. Yan Chen & F. Maxwell Harper & Joseph Konstan & Sherry Xin Li, 2010. "Social Comparisons and Contributions to Online Communities: A Field Experiment on MovieLens," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 100(4), pages 1358-1398, September.
    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.
    5. Hermalin, Benjamin E, 1998. "Toward an Economic Theory of Leadership: Leading by Example," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 88(5), pages 1188-1206, December.
    6. James J. Murphy & Nomin Batmunkh & Benjamin Nilsson & Samantha Ray, 2015. "The Impact of Social Information on the Voluntary Provision of Public Goods: A Replication Study," Research in Experimental Economics,in: Replication in Experimental Economics, volume 18, pages 41-50 Emerald Publishing Ltd.
    7. Soetevent, Adriaan R., 2005. "Anonymity in giving in a natural context--a field experiment in 30 churches," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 89(11-12), pages 2301-2323, December.
    8. Klaus M. Schmidt & Martin Spann & Robert Zeithammer, 2015. "Pay What You Want as a Marketing Strategy in Monopolistic and Competitive Markets," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 61(6), pages 1217-1236, June.
    9. 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.
    10. Riener, Gerhard & Traxler, Christian, 2012. "Norms, moods, and free lunch: Longitudinal evidence on payments from a Pay-What-You-Want restaurant," Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics (formerly The Journal of Socio-Economics), Elsevier, vol. 41(4), pages 476-483.
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Greiff, Matthias & Egbert, Henrik, 2016. "A Survey of the Empirical Evidence on PWYW Pricing," MPRA Paper 68693, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    2. Gerpott, Torsten J. & Schneider, Christina, 2016. "Buying behaviors when similar products are available under pay-what-you-want and posted price conditions: Field-experimental evidence," Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics (formerly The Journal of Socio-Economics), Elsevier, vol. 65(C), pages 135-145.
    3. Greiff, Matthias & Egbert, Henrik, 2016. "The Pay-What-You-Want Game and Laboratory Experiments," MPRA Paper 75222, University Library of Munich, Germany.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    voluntary contribution; cultural goods; PWYW;

    JEL classification:

    • D4 - Microeconomics - - Market Structure, Pricing, and Design
    • D64 - Microeconomics - - Welfare Economics - - - Altruism; Philanthropy; Intergenerational Transfers

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