Social Distance and Quality Ratings in Charity Choice
We conduct a laboratory experiment to examine how third-party ratings impact charity choice and donative behavior, particularly in regards to preferences for local charities. Subjects are given a menu of ten charities, with a mix of local and non-local organizations included. We vary whether third-party ratings are displayed on this menu. Subjects perform an effort task to earn money and can choose to donate to their selected charity. We find evidence that subjects' choice of charity is impacted by third-party evaluations but, somewhat surprisingly, there are no obvious preferences for local charities. These third-party assessments have some impact on the percent of earnings that subjects allocate to their selected charity; local charities also accrue more donations, though these results are somewhat imprecise.
We would like to thank the Texas A\&M Humanities and Social Science Enhancement of Research Capacity Program, Texas A\&M College of Liberal Arts Seed Grant Program, and the College of Liberal Arts at Texas A\&M for providing generous financial support for our research. We have benefited from comments by Catherine Eckel, Ericka Farret, Jason Lindo, Steve Puller, and seminar participants at Chapman University, George Mason University, the University of California - San Diego, Washington State University, and conference presentations at 2013 Biennial Social Dilemmas Conference, the 2013 Stanford Institute for Theoretical Economics, and the 2012 and 2013 North American Economic Science Association Meetings. We would also like to thank Xiaoyuan Wang and Jeremy West for helping to conduct the sessions. The views expressed herein are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Bureau of Economic Research.
Brown, Alexander L. & Meer, Jonathan & Williams, J. Forrest, 2017. "Social distance and quality ratings in charity choice," Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics (formerly The Journal of Socio-Economics), Elsevier, vol. 66(C), pages 9-15. citation courtesy of