Experiments in charitable giving: Magnitudes, variance

In laboratory and field experiments, there is a large degree of between-subject variance in donation behavior. Effect sizes are sometimes small. Below, a table summarizing some recent work; this may be useful for power-calculations. Here is a web link to the same table, with links to papers.

Note: this table will be superceded by material linked to our papers table and our general database.

Please let me know if you have any suggestions or additional rows to add.

Experiment N Endowment Share donating Share donated Mean donation SD SD/Mean Effect Size References
Reinstein: Berkeley (Wave 2) ('12) 48 $20 65% 23.0% $4.60 4.94 107% 18% Reinstein, David. “Substitution among charitable contributions: An experimental study.” (2012 update, unpubished)
Reinstein/Riener: Social Giving ('12) 192 8 € 77% 25.0% € 1.80 1.81 101% 72% Reinstein, David, and Gerhard Riener. “Reputation and influence in charitable giving: An experiment.” Theory and decision 72.2 (2012): 221.
Kellner et al - Prolific 240 £10 53% 15.8% £1.58 2.15 136% 57% Ibid
Karlan and List ('07) 50,083 2.0% $0.90 0.05 6% 19% Nickerson, Mike, and John A. List. “Does price matter in charitable giving? Evidence from a large-scale natural field experiment.” The American economic review 97.5 (2007): 1774-1793.
Tonin/Vlassapolous ('14) 196 £10 81% 47.9% £4.79 3.31 69% 21% Tonin, Mirco, and Michael Vlassopoulos. “An experimental investigation of intrinsic motivations for giving.” Theory and decision 76.1 (2014): 47-67.
Ibid., Employability 375 £20 31% 8.3% £1.97 4.59 233% 25% Ibid
RR, Omnibus, Substitution, students 218 £10 David Reinstein, and Gerhard Riener. “Substitution among charitable contributions: Experimental evidence .” (2017). Work in progress
Jones & Linardi - Wallflowers ('15) 150 $10 73% 37.3% $3.73 3.49 94% 21% Jones, Daniel, and Sera Linardi. “Wallflowers: Experimental evidence of an aversion to standing out.” Management Science 60.7 (2014): 1757-1771.
Ibid., nonstudents 96 £10 Ibid
Ibid., Omnibus (Giving & Prob) 460 £20 54% 26.2% £3.13 4.15 133% 8% Ibid
Kellner et al - Valentine's 159 £20 28% 4.1% £0.83 1.63 197% 103% Kellner, Christian, David Reinstein, and Gerhard Riener. “Conditional generosity and uncertain income: Lab and field evidence on signalling and gender.” (2016). (Updating 2017)
Huck and Rasul ('11) 25,000 N/A 4.1% 10 44% Huck, Steffen, and Imran Rasul. “Matched fundraising: Evidence from a natural field experiment.” Journal of Public Economics 95.5 (2011): 351-362.
Reinstein/Riener: Tangibility ('12) 190 €5,7.5,10 57% 18.3% € 1.23 1.75 142% 52% Reinstein, David, and Gerhard Riener. “Decomposing desert and tangibility effects in a charitable giving experiment.” Experimental Economics 15.1 (2012): 229-240.
Reinstein: Berkeley Pilot (Wave 1) 49 $10 74% 21.0% $2.10 2.06 98%
Ibid, Lab (all treatments) 430 €7,€14 61% 16.3% £1.99 2.54 128% 24% Ibid
Eckel & Grossman ('96) 48 $10 73% 30.1% $3.01 3.19 106% N/A Eckel, Catherine C., and Philip J. Grossman. “Altruism in anonymous dictator games.” Games and economic behavior 16.2 (1996): 181-191.
Reinstein/Riener: Essex Social giving 50 £10 92% 49.2% £4.92 2.8 57% 37% Unpublished


david, 2018/03/18 18:20

Working on updating this in Airtable. Re-tool to state means and differences relative to control group

david, 2018/01/03 14:51

I plan to update this to provide links to source data, and more statistics to enable evaluation and meta-analysis … e.g,. p-statistics for p-curve analysis.

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