Do Norms on Contribution Behavior Affect Intrinsic Motivation? Field-Experimental Evidence from Germany
35 Pages Posted: 12 Aug 2016
Date Written: July 21, 2016
This paper studies how imposing norms on contribution behavior affects individuals’ intrinsic motivation. We consider the church levy, which the Catholic Church in Germany collects as a charitable donation, despite the fact that the levy is legally a tax. We design a randomized field experiment with treatments informing individuals that the levy is a tax. We demonstrate that treatment effects differ across motivational types. Among weakly intrinsically motivated individuals, communicating the legal norm results in a significant crowd-out of intrinsic motivation. In contrast, strongly intrinsically motivated individuals do not show any treatment response.
Keywords: intrinsic motivation, crowding out, charitable giving, norms, taxes, public goods, randomized field experiment
JEL Classification: C930, D030, H260, H410
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