NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH

NBER Publications by Hannah Trachtman

Contact and additional information for this authorAll NBER papers and publicationsNBER Working Papers only

Working Papers and Chapters

August 2014Fair Weather Avoidance: Unpacking Costs and Benefits in Replication of 'Avoiding the Ask'
with Andrew Steinkruger, Mackenzie Wood, Adam Wooster, James Andreoni, James J. Murphy, Justin M. Rao: w20385
If being asked to give to charity stimulates an emotional response, like empathy, that makes giving difficult to resist, a natural self-control mechanism might be to avoid being asked in the first place. We replicate a result from a field experiment that points to the role of empathy in giving. We conduct an experiment in a large superstore in which we solicit donations to charity and randomly allow shoppers the opportunity to avoid solicitation by using the other door. We find the rate of avoidance by store entrants to be 4.5 percent. However, we also find that the avoidance effect disappears in very cold weather, suggesting that avoidance behavior is sensitive to its cost.
December 2011Avoiding The Ask: A Field Experiment on Altruism, Empathy, and Charitable Giving
with James Andreoni, Justin M. Rao: w17648
What triggers giving? We explore this in a randomized natural field experiment during the Salvation Army's annual campaign. Solicitors were at one or both of two main entrances to a supermarket, making the solicitation either easy or difficult to avoid. Additionally, solicitors were either silent, or asked "please give" to passersby. We observed over 17,000 passings over four days, and found dramatic avoidance of the solicitors, but only during a direct ask. Furthermore, asking increased donations 75%. Across all conditions, seeking the solicitor was exceedingly rare. The results do not support static views of altruism, such as inequity aversion, and instead highlight the importance of social cues and psychological features of the giver-receiver interaction. We argue that avoidance could e...

Contact and additional information for this authorAll NBER papers and publicationsNBER Working Papers only

 
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