Document Detail

Testing for altruism and social pressure in charitable giving.
MedLine Citation:
PMID:  22448394     Owner:  HMD     Status:  In-Process    
Every year, 90% of Americans give money to charities. Is such generosity necessarily welfare enhancing for the giver? We present a theoretical framework that distinguishes two types of motivation: individuals like to give, for example, due to altruism or warm glow, and individuals would rather not give but dislike saying no, for example, due to social pressure. We design a door-to-door fund-raiser in which some households are informed about the exact time of solicitation with a flyer on their doorknobs. Thus, they can seek or avoid the fund-raiser. We find that the flyer reduces the share of households opening the door by 9% to 25% and, if the flyer allows checking a Do Not Disturb box, reduces giving by 28% to 42%. The latter decrease is concentrated among donations smaller than $10. These findings suggest that social pressure is an important determinant of door-to-door giving. Combining data from this and a complementary field experiment, we structurally estimate the model. The estimated social pressure cost of saying no to a solicitor is $3.80 for an in-state charity and $1.40 for an out-of-state charity. Our welfare calculations suggest that our door-to-door fund-raising campaigns on average lower the utility of the potential donors.
Stefano DellaVigna; John A List; Ulrike Malmendier
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Publication Detail:
Type:  Journal Article    
Journal Detail:
Title:  The quarterly journal of economics     Volume:  127     ISSN:  0033-5533     ISO Abbreviation:  Q J Econ     Publication Date:  2012  
Date Detail:
Created Date:  2012-01-31     Completed Date:  -     Revised Date:  -    
Medline Journal Info:
Nlm Unique ID:  9879565     Medline TA:  Q J Econ     Country:  United States    
Other Details:
Languages:  eng     Pagination:  1-56     Citation Subset:  Q    
University of California, Berkeley, and National Bureau of Economic Research.
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