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Subsidizing Charitable Giving in a Field Experiment

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  • Thorsten Hens
  • Beate Pilgrim

Abstract

This paper tests the effect of a matching mechanism on donations in a controlled field experiment. We match the donations of students at the University of Zurich who, each semester, have to decide whether they wish to contribute to two Social Funds. Our results support the hypothesis that a matching mechanism increases contributions to a public good. However, the effect depends on the extent to which the contributions are matched. Whereas a 25 percent increase of a donation does not increase the willingness to contribute, a 50 percent increase does have an effect. In addition, people need to be socially inclined to react to the matching mechanism. The field experiment provides some evidence suggesting that the matching mechanism crowds-out the intrinsic motivation of giving.

Suggested Citation

  • Thorsten Hens & Beate Pilgrim, "undated". "Subsidizing Charitable Giving in a Field Experiment," IEW - Working Papers 070, Institute for Empirical Research in Economics - University of Zurich.
  • Handle: RePEc:zur:iewwpx:070
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    File URL: http://www.econ.uzh.ch/static/wp_iew/iewwp070.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Public Goods; Field Experiment; Matching Mechanism; Donations;

    JEL classification:

    • C93 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments - - - Field Experiments
    • D64 - Microeconomics - - Welfare Economics - - - Altruism; Philanthropy; Intergenerational Transfers
    • H00 - Public Economics - - General - - - General

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