Do I Care If You Are Paid? A Field Experiment on Charitable Donations

42 Pages Posted: 23 Mar 2017 Last revised: 7 Mar 2019

See all articles by Holger Andreas Rau

Holger Andreas Rau

University of Goettingen (Gottingen)

Anya Samek

Center for Economic and Social Research (CESR); University of Southern California - Department of Economics

Lilia Zhurakhovska

Max Planck Society for the Advancement of the Sciences - Max Planck Institute for Research on Collective Goods; University of Duisburg-Essen

Date Written: February 11, 2019

Abstract

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

Rau, Holger Andreas and Samek, Anya and Zhurakhovska, Lilia, Do I Care If You Are Paid? A Field Experiment on Charitable Donations (February 11, 2019). CESR-Schaeffer Working Paper No. 2938069. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2938069 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2938069

Holger Andreas Rau (Contact Author)

University of Goettingen (Gottingen) ( email )

Platz der Gottinger Sieben 3
Gottingen, D-37073
Germany

Anya Samek

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

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

University of Southern California - Department of Economics ( email )

3620 South Vermont Ave. Kaprielian (KAP) Hall, 300
Los Angeles, CA 90089
United States

Lilia Zhurakhovska

Max Planck Society for the Advancement of the Sciences - Max Planck Institute for Research on Collective Goods ( email )

Kurt-Schumacher-Str. 10
Bonn, 53113
Germany

University of Duisburg-Essen ( email )

Lotharstrasse 1
Duisburg, 47048
Germany

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