Some Causes Are More Equal Than Others? The Effect Of Similarity On Substitution In Charitable Giving

Ek, Claes, (2017). Some Causes Are More Equal Than Others? The Effect Of Similarity On Substitution In Charitable Giving. Journal Of Economic Behavior & Organization, 136, , 45–62.



Type of evidence: Lab-charity

Related tools: Charities collaborate/compete?

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Related critiques: Obvious contrast in within-subject treatments

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Donor population: Lab

Paper summary


AIn an experimental dictator game where subjects may donate [via real effort] to two different real-world charities, we simulate activity-specific interventions by varying the relative productivity of those charities, and introduce several treatments to test whether (i) subjects substitute across charities, and (ii) whether substitution occurs even across (possibly very) dissimilar alternatives. We find that significant substitution occurs in all cases, but that the effect is weaker the more dissimilar the charity alternatives. In our most dissimilar treatment, substitution is only half as large as when alternatives are very similar.


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This paper has been added by David Reinstein

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