NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH

Avoiding The Ask: A Field Experiment on Altruism, Empathy, and Charitable Giving

James Andreoni, Justin M. Rao, Hannah Trachtman

NBER Working Paper No. 17648
Issued in December 2011, Revised in November 2016

---- Acknowledgements ----

A version of this paper constituted Trachtman's senior thesis at Harvard College, for which it was awarded the best thesis prize and summa cum laude honors. We would like to note that Trachtman took the lead responsibility in coordinating and executing the experiment. Erzo Luttmer provided exceptionally helpful advice along the way. We would also like to thank Ned Augenblick, Douglas Bernheim, Rob Boyd, Stefano DellaVigna, Daniel Fessler, Ed Glaeser, David Laibson, Randall Lewis, John List, Stephan Meier, Stephanie Preston, David Reiley, Alison Sanchez, Michael Schwarz, Joan Silk, and Lise Vesterlund for helpful comments, and Harvard College (Trachtman) and the National Science Foundation, Grant SES-1427355 (Andreoni) for financial support. We especially thank the Salvation Army for cooperation in running the experiment. This research was conducted under full IRB approval. The views expressed herein are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Bureau of Economic Research.

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