Do I Care If You Are Paid? A Field Experiment on Charitable Donations
42 Pages Posted: 23 Mar 2017 Last revised: 7 Mar 2019
Date Written: February 11, 2019
We use a door-to-door field experiment to study how information about solicitors’ compensation affects charitable giving. In the experiment, we vary (1) whether solicitors are paid or not and (2) the information that potential donors receive about solicitor compensation. We find that donations are 16% higher when potential donors are told that solicitors are paid, versus when potential donors have no information about the solicitor’s compensation. The treatment effect is driven by female donors, who increase their donations by 88% when informed that solicitors are paid. In a follow-up internet survey, we find evidence that subjects are happy about solicitors’ honesty when they tell them that they are paid. Interestingly, males report that they trust charities less when informed that a solicitor is paid. This demotivating effect does not exist for females, which may explain the gender effect in our field data.
Keywords: charitable giving, field experiment, information
JEL Classification: C93, D12, H41, J16
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation