Signaling Virtue: Charitable Behavior Under Consumer Elective Pricing
63 Pages Posted: 11 Jun 2014
Date Written: June 9, 2014
Four field experiments examined the quantitative and qualitative forces influencing behaviors under consumer elective pricing called “shared social responsibility” (SSR, Gneezy, Gneezy, Nelson, & Brown, 2010). Under SSR consumers can pay what they want and a percentage of their payment goes to support a charitable cause. Customers in our experiments were sensitive to the presence of charitable giving, paying more when a portion of their payment went to charity (Studies 1-4), but were largely insensitive to what portion of their payment went to charity (Studies 1 and 2). To test possible explanations we examined how consumers’ qualitative concerns to signal a positive image influenced their decisions and found that neither self-selection into paying (Studies 3 and 4) nor social pressure (Study 4) explained higher payments under SSR.
Keywords: charitable giving, consumer elective pricing, pay-what-you-want, scope-sensitivity
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