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

Journal of Economic Behavior and Organization 108, 198-211.

23 Pages Posted: 24 Oct 2013 Last revised: 9 Oct 2021

See all articles by Amanda Chuan

Amanda Chuan

Michigan State University - College of Social Science; University of Pennsylvania - The Wharton School

Anya Samek

University of California, San Diego (UCSD) - Rady School of Management; Center for Economic and Social Research (CESR)

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, 'Feel the Warmth' Glow: A Field Experiment on Manipulating the Act of Giving (October 22, 2013). Journal of Economic Behavior and Organization 108, 198-211., Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2343966 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2343966

Amanda Chuan

Michigan State University - College of Social Science ( email )

East Lansing, MI 48824
United States

HOME PAGE: http://https://sites.google.com/view/amandachuan/home

University of Pennsylvania - The Wharton School ( email )

3641 Locust Walk
Philadelphia, PA 19104-6365
United States

Anya Samek (Contact Author)

University of California, San Diego (UCSD) - Rady School of Management ( email )

9500 Gilman Drive #0553
Rady School of Management
La Jolla, CA 92093-0553
United States

HOME PAGE: http://anyasamek.com

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

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

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