Is a Donor in Hand Better than Two in the Bush? Evidence from a Natural Field Experiment

Craig E. Landry, Andreas Lange, John A. List, Michael K. Price, Nicholas G. Rupp

NBER Working Paper No. 14319
Issued in September 2008
NBER Program(s):   EEE   PE

This study develops theory and conducts an experiment to provide an understanding of why people initially give to charities, why they remain committed to the cause, and what factors attenuate these influences. Using an experimental design that links donations across distinct treatments separated in time, we present several insights. For example, we find that previous donors are more likely to give, and contribute more, than donors asked to contribute for the first time. Yet, how these previous donors were acquired is critical: agents who are initially attracted by signals of charitable quality transmitted via an economic mechanism are much more likely to continue giving than agents who were initially attracted by non-mechanism factors.

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Document Object Identifier (DOI): 10.3386/w14319

Published: Craig E. Landry & Andreas Lange & John A. List & Michael K. Price & Nicholas G. Rupp, 2010. "Is a Donor in Hand Better Than Two in the Bush? Evidence from a Natural Field Experiment," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 100(3), pages 958-83, June. citation courtesy of

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