Economics of Altruism: Evidence from the Field
Saturday, Jan. 5, 2019 2:30 PM - 4:30 PM
- Chair: Daniel Hungerman, University of Notre Dame
The Joy of Giving: Evidence from a Matching Experiment
AbstractHow large is the joy of giving? Does the size of the gift matter? How does the joy derived from giving vary between persons? We answer these questions in a unique experiment conducted among large samples of the general population (n = 1,232) and of millionaires (n = 807) in the Netherlands. Two thirds of participants entered a lottery with five prizes worth €100 that could be donated to a charity of their choice. For one third of participants in the match treatment, contributions were doubled by the experimenters. After the donation decision, participants reported their mood. A control group of one third of all participants did not enter the lottery and only reported their mood. Our study is the first large-scale experiment that includes measures of the joy of giving to test the model of impure altruism against pure warm glow and pure altruism. In addition, our experiment is the first large sample study to demonstrate individual heterogeneity in the joy of giving.
Personalized Threshold Matching for Charitable Gifts: A Field Experiment
AbstractWhile increasing the number of donors, standard matching has been shown to cause considerable crowding out (Eckel and Grossman, 2003, Karlan and List, 2007, or Huck and Rasul, 2011). Can we design an alternative matching scheme that would lead to an increase in the values of gifts given? We propose a form of a threshold matching that matches any donation above a certain threshold with a fixed amount. First, we study how such thresholds should be chosen depending on past donations. We find that asking for less than the amount given in the past results in lower donations and lower revenue. Asking for the amount given in the past or a higher amount increases donations with a threshold of 60-75% higher than the past donation being optimal. However, while asking for less result in high compliance, asking for more also triggers some contrarian behavior. Second, we study how to use such personalized matching for prospective donors based on observable characteristics. Finally, we compare personalized threshold matching to a non-personalized version with the same threshold for all participants. In the sample of previous non-donors, higher threshold results in lower response rate, higher average donation, and lower return per mail-out.
University of Notre Dame
Texas A&M University
- H4 - Publicly Provided Goods