The Shape of Warm Glow: Field Experimental Evidence from a Fundraiser

42 Pages Posted: 17 Sep 2018

See all articles by Jeffrey P. Carpenter

Jeffrey P. Carpenter

Middlebury College - Department of Economics; IZA Institute of Labor Economics


Theory commonly posits agents who care both for the level of provision of a public good and the extent to which they personally contribute to the cause. Simply put, agents feel some "warm glow" from the donations they make. I discuss a fundraiser devised to exogenously vary the incentive to give and identify the structural parameters of warm glow. Estimates suggest that for participants claiming warm glow as their primary motivation, its shape is increasing and concave. Nevertheless, welfare analysis suggests that warm glow is unlikely to be the only important factor in the decision to give.

Keywords: public good, altruism, warm glow, structural estimate, philanthropy, pari mutuel lottery, fundraising, field experiment, survey validation

JEL Classification: H41, D03, D64, C93

Suggested Citation

Carpenter, Jeffrey P., The Shape of Warm Glow: Field Experimental Evidence from a Fundraiser. IZA Discussion Paper No. 11760, Available at SSRN:

Jeffrey P. Carpenter (Contact Author)

Middlebury College - Department of Economics ( email )

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IZA Institute of Labor Economics

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