Information and belief elicitation effects on charitable giving: An artefactual field experiment

Becchetti LeonardoPelligra Vittorio
CEIS Research Paper
We examine by means of an artefactual field experiment on a representative sample of Italian adults, the impact of information and belief elicitation on charitable-giving when donors know (or express their beliefs on) what the organizations received in terms of aggregate donations in the past. We find that both effects are significant in terms of increase in the share of donors to a health related (bone marrow transplant) organization. The observed findings are consistent with expressed health wellbeing preferences of donors and with the gap between the organization position in the ranking of aggregate donations (last) and the far higher expected position of the same organization in donors’ beliefs. The effect is robust also in gender and age sample splits. Inequity aversion and warm glow depending on the expected marginal benefit of increased donations to the specific charity are two observationally equivalent explanations for our findings. Another related consequence of information disclosure is that the share of participants deciding not to donate at all becomes significantly lower when information on aggregate past donations is provided.
Number: 306
Keywords: altruism, warm glow, strategic information, charitable-giving, artefactual field experiment
JEL codes: C91, D64, H00
Volume: 12
Issue: 02
Date: Tuesday 11 February 2014
Revision Date: Tuesday 11 February 2014