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American Economic Review: Vol. 101 No. 3 (May 2011)

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Can Tailored Communications Motivate Environmental Volunteers? A Natural Field Experiment

Article Citation

Al-Ubaydli, Omar, and Min Lee. 2011. "Can Tailored Communications Motivate Environmental Volunteers? A Natural Field Experiment." American Economic Review, 101(3): 323-28.

DOI: 10.1257/aer.101.3.323

Abstract

Volunteering is a significant component of economic activity, especially for environmental organizations. Environmental organizations that rely on volunteers communicate with them using a variety of media, such as newsletters. This is a field experiment investigating whether tailoring the content of these communications to the stated motivations of a volunteer has a positive effect on the number of hours he/she volunteers. For the non-profit in our study, we find that such tailoring has an effect only for volunteers motivated primarily by career concerns. We also find this to be robust to the volunteers being aware that the tailoring is occurring.

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Authors

Al-Ubaydli, Omar (George Mason U)
Lee, Min (Kenneth and Anne Griffin Foundation, Chicago, IL)

JEL Classifications

C93: Field Experiments
D64: Altruism


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