Department of Economics
PO Box 208268
New Haven, CT 06511
NBER Working Papers and Publications
|August 2014||Fair 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.
Published: Hannah Trachtman & Andrew Steinkruger & Mackenzie Wood & Adam Wooster & James Andreoni & James J. Murphy & Justin M. Rao, 2015. "Fair weather avoidance: unpacking the costs and benefits of “Avoiding the Ask”," Journal of the Economic Science Association, vol 1(1), pages 8-14.
|December 2011||Avoiding The Ask: A Field Experiment on Altruism, Empathy, and Charitable Giving|
with James Andreoni, Justin M. Rao: w17648
If people get joy from giving, then why might they avoid fundraisers? We explore this in a randomized natural field experiment during the Salvation Army's annual campaign. The familiar bell-ringers were placed at one or both of two main entrances to a supermarket, making the ask for a charitable donation either easy or difficult to avoid. Additionally, solicitors either simply rang the bell, or asked "please give" to passersby. Verbally asking dramatically increases the number of givers and the amount of giving, as does having solicitors at both main entrances. However, we also found dramatic avoidance of verbal solicitation, between 26.2% and 32.6%, but negligible avoidance of non-verbal solicitation. Asking has a powerful effect on both giving when asked, and on avoidance. We argue that ...
forthcoming in the Journal of Political Economy