Ambiguity and Excuse-Driven Behavior in Charitable Giving
44 Pages Posted: 13 Nov 2018 Last revised: 3 Jun 2019
Date Written: June 1, 2019
A donation may have ambiguous costs or ambiguous benefits. In a laboratory experiment, we show that individuals use this ambiguity strategically as a moral wiggle room to behave less generously without feeling guilty. Such excuse-driven behavior is more pronounced when the costs of a donation -rather than its benefits- are ambiguous. However, the importance of excuse-driven behavior is comparable under ambiguity and under risk. Individuals exploit any type of uncertainty as an excuse not to give, regardless of the nature of this uncertainty.
Keywords: ambiguity, excuse-driven behavior, charitable giving, social preferences, experiment
JEL Classification: C91, D64, D81
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation