Pay-What-You-Want to Support Independent Information - A Field Experiment on Motivation

42 Pages Posted: 8 May 2018

See all articles by Alessandra Casarico

Alessandra Casarico

Bocconi University - Department of Policy Analysis and Public Management

Mirco Tonin

Free University of Bozen-Bolzano; IZA; CESifo (Center for Economic Studies and Ifo Institute)

Date Written: March 14, 2018

Abstract

Pay-what-you-want schemes can be a useful tool to finance high quality and independent news media without restricting readership, therefore guaranteeing maximum diffusion. We conduct a field experiment with the Italian information site lavoce.info to explore how to structure a campaign in a way that maximises readers’ willingness to contribute. We compare messages stressing two possible motivations to contribute, namely the public good component of the news or the importance of the individual contributions. We also test the effect of including information about the tax allowance associated with donations. While the particular motivation stressed does not have a significant impact, information about tax allowances surprisingly reduces overall donations, due to a reduction in the number of (small) donors. Stable unsubscriptions from the newsletter suggest that the campaign does not have an adverse effect on readers.

Keywords: field experiment, pay-what-you-want, tax allowances, media

JEL Classification: C930, D640, H410

Suggested Citation

Casarico, Alessandra and Tonin, Mirco, Pay-What-You-Want to Support Independent Information - A Field Experiment on Motivation (March 14, 2018). CESifo Working Paper Series No. 6939. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3172681

Alessandra Casarico (Contact Author)

Bocconi University - Department of Policy Analysis and Public Management ( email )

Via Roentgen 1
Milan, 20136
Italy

Mirco Tonin

Free University of Bozen-Bolzano ( email )

Sernesiplatz 1
Bozen-Bolzano, BZ 39100
Italy

IZA ( email )

P.O. Box 7240
Bonn, D-53072
Germany

HOME PAGE: http://www.iza.org/en/webcontent/personnel/photos/index_html?key=3339

CESifo (Center for Economic Studies and Ifo Institute) ( email )

Poschinger Str. 5
Munich, DE-81679
Germany

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