Business Economics and Public Policy Papers

Document Type

Journal Article

Date of this Version

12-2014

Publication Source

Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization

Volume

108

Start Page

198

Last Page

211

DOI

10.1016/j.jebo.2014.09.011

Abstract

We conducted a field experiment with a charitable group to investigate whether giving the donor an option to write a personalized holiday card to the recipient influences giving behavior. Over 1500 households were approached in a door-to-door campaign and randomized to either a treatment group, in which donors were presented with the option to write their own card for the recipient, or a control group, in which donors were not given the option to write their own card for the recipient. We predict that treatment should increase contributions through making the gift more meaningful, but may also decrease contributions by increasing the transaction and social costs of donating. We find evidence in favor of the negative effects of costs from treatment, and no evidence of increased giving. We also observe that our treatment crowds out small donors (donors giving $5 or less).

Copyright/Permission Statement

© 2014. This manuscript version is made available under the CC-BY-NC-ND 4.0 license http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/4.0/

Keywords

field experiment, altruism, meaning, social pressure

Embargo Date

9-30-2017

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Date Posted: 27 November 2017

This document has been peer reviewed.