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On the norms of charitable giving in Islam: A field experiment

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  • Lambarraa, Fatima
  • Riener, Gerhard

Abstract

Charitable giving is one of the major obligations Islam and a strong Muslim norm endorses giving to the needy, but discourages public displays of giving. This norm is puzzling in light of previous evidence, suggesting that making donations public often increases giving. We report the results two field experiments with 534 and 186 participants at Moroccan educational institutions (among them two religious schools) to assess the effects this moral prescription on actual giving levels in anonymous and public settings. Subjects who participated in a paid study were given the option to donate from their payment to a local orphanage, under treatments that varied the publicity of the donation and the salience of Islamic values. In the salient Islamic treatment, anonymity of donations significantly increased donation incidence from 59% to 77% percent as well as average donations for religious subjects from 8.90 to 13.00 Dh. This findings stand in stark contrast to most previous findings in the charitable giving literature and suggest to rethink fundraising strategies in Muslim populations.

Suggested Citation

  • Lambarraa, Fatima & Riener, Gerhard, 2012. "On the norms of charitable giving in Islam: A field experiment," DICE Discussion Papers 59, University of Düsseldorf, Düsseldorf Institute for Competition Economics (DICE).
  • Handle: RePEc:zbw:dicedp:59
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    Cited by:

    1. Sriya Iyer, 2016. "The New Economics of Religion," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 54(2), pages 395-441, June.
    2. Luke Condra & Mohammad Isaqzadeh & Sera Linardi, 2015. "Selecting (In) and Crowding Out: Experimental Evidence of the Power of Religious Authority in Afghanistan," Framed Field Experiments 00398, The Field Experiments Website.
    3. Jang, Chaning & Lynham, John, 2015. "Where do social preferences come from?," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 137(C), pages 25-28.
    4. Luke Condra & Mohammad Isaqzadeh & Sera Linardi, 2016. "Imagined vs. Actual "Others": An Experiment on Interethnic Giving Afghanistan," Framed Field Experiments 00546, The Field Experiments Website.
    5. Arye L. Hillman & Niklas Potrafke, 2016. "Economic Freedom and Religion: An Empirical Investigation," CESifo Working Paper Series 6017, CESifo Group Munich.
    6. Hoff, Karla & Pandey, Priyanka, 2014. "Making up people—The effect of identity on performance in a modernizing society," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 106(C), pages 118-131.
    7. repec:sae:pubfin:v:46:y:2018:i:2:p:249-275 is not listed on IDEAS

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Charitable giving; Islam; Social pressure; Priming; Religion; Norms; Field experiment;

    JEL classification:

    • H40 - Public Economics - - Publicly Provided Goods - - - General
    • C93 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments - - - Field Experiments
    • D01 - Microeconomics - - General - - - Microeconomic Behavior: Underlying Principles
    • Z12 - Other Special Topics - - Cultural Economics - - - Religion

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