'Feel the Warmth' Glow: A Field Experiment on Manipulating the Act of Giving

23 Pages Posted: 24 Oct 2013  

Amanda Chuan

University of Pennsylvania - The Wharton School

Anya Savikhin Samek

Center for Economic and Social Research (CESR); The University of Chicago

Date Written: October 22, 2013

Abstract

We conducted a field experiment with a charitable group to investigate whether giving the donor an option to write a personal message to the recipient influences giving behavior. Over 1,500 households were approached in a door-to-door campaign and randomized to either a control or a treatment in which donors could include a card for the recipient. We predict that treatment should increase contributions through making the gift more meaningful, but may also decrease contribution rate by increasing the social or other cost of donating. We find evidence in favor of the cost effect, and no evidence of increased giving.

Keywords: field experiment, altruism, meaning, social pressure

JEL Classification: C93, H41, D64

Suggested Citation

Chuan, Amanda and Samek, Anya Savikhin, 'Feel the Warmth' Glow: A Field Experiment on Manipulating the Act of Giving (October 22, 2013). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2343966 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2343966

Amanda Chuan

University of Pennsylvania - The Wharton School ( email )

3641 Locust Walk
Philadelphia, PA 19104-6365
United States

Anya Savikhin Samek (Contact Author)

Center for Economic and Social Research (CESR) ( email )

635 Downey Way
Los Angeles, CA 90089-3332
United States

The University of Chicago ( email )

Chicago, IL 60637
United States

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