The Richness of Giving: Charity Selection and Charitable Gifts in a Large Field Experiment


By: Daniel Lee ; John List ; Michael Price ; Shachar Kariv
We build on previous work in the charitable giving literature by examining not only how much subjects give to charity, but also which charities subjects prefer. We operationalize this choice in an artefactual field experiment with a representative sample of respondents. We then use these data to structurally model motives for giving. The novelty of this design allows us to ask several interesting questions regarding the choices one undertakes when deciding both whether and how much to give to charity. Further, we ask these questions in the context of a standard utility framework. Given the unique set up of this experiment, we also explore how these distributional preference parameters differ by charity choice and from what we have observed in the past. We find that there is more variation within demographics and charity types than across distributions.



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