Charitable Giving, Emotions, and the Default Effect

21 Pages Posted: 28 Aug 2017

See all articles by Lenka Fiala

Lenka Fiala

Tilburg University - Center for Economic Research (CentER); Tilburg Law and Economics Center (TILEC)

Charles N. Noussair

Tilburg University

Multiple version iconThere are 2 versions of this paper

Date Written: October 2017

Abstract

We report an experiment to study the effect of defaults on charitable giving. In three different treatments, participants face varying default levels of donation. In three other treatments that are paired with the first three, they receive the same defaults, but are informed that defaults are thought to have an effect on their donation decisions. The emotional state of all individuals is monitored throughout the sessions using Facereading software, and some participants are required to report their emotional state after the donation decision. We find that the level at which a default is set has no effect on donations, and informing individuals of the possible impact of defaults also has no effect. Individuals who are happier and in a more positive overall emotional state donate more. Donors experience a negative change in the valence of their emotional state subsequent to donating, when valence is measured with Facereading software. This contrasts with the self‐report data, in which donating correlates with a more positive reported subsequent emotional state.

JEL Classification: C91

Suggested Citation

Fiala, Lenka and Noussair, Charles N., Charitable Giving, Emotions, and the Default Effect (October 2017). Economic Inquiry, Vol. 55, Issue 4, pp. 1792-1812, 2017, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3026760 or http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/ecin.12459

Lenka Fiala (Contact Author)

Tilburg University - Center for Economic Research (CentER) ( email )

P.O. Box 90153
Tilburg, 5000 LE
Netherlands

Tilburg Law and Economics Center (TILEC) ( email )

Warandelaan 2
Tilburg, 5000 LE
Netherlands

Charles N. Noussair

Tilburg University ( email )

P.O. Box 90153
Tilburg, DC Noord-Brabant 5000 LE
Netherlands

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