Hey Look at Me: The Effect of Giving Circles on Giving
Theories abound for why individuals give to charity. We conduct a field experiment with donors to a Yale University service club to test the impact of a promise of public recognition on giving. Some may claim that they respond to an offer of public recognition not to improve their social standing, but rather to motivate others to give. To tease apart these two theories, we conduct a laboratory experiment with undergraduates, and find no evidence to support the alternative, altruistic motivation. We conclude that charitable gifts increase in response to the promise of public recognition primarily because of individuals' desire to improve their social image.
We would like to thank the staff of Dwight Hall and Jacob Marcus for their help in implementing the field experiment. We are grateful to Lint Barrage and the staff of the Decision Lab at Yale for assistance running lab experiments at Yale, and to ISPS and the Economic Growth Center at Yale for funding support. Thanks to Brooke Berman, Ya-Ting Chuang and Angela Vargas for research assistance. We thank Sera Linardi for input on experimental design. The views expressed herein are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Bureau of Economic Research.
Karlan, Dean & McConnell, Margaret A., 2014. "Hey look at me: The effect of giving circles on giving," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 106(C), pages 402-412. citation courtesy of