Does price matter in charitable giving? Evidence from a large-scale natural field experiment

Dean Karlan*, John A. List

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

224 Scopus citations

Abstract

We conducted a natural field experiment to further our understanding of the economics of charity. Using direct mail solicitations to over 50,000 prior donors of a nonprofit organization, we tested the effectiveness of a matching grant on charitable giving. We find that the match offer increases both the revenue per solicitation and the response rate. Larger match ratios (i.e., $3:$1 and $2:$1) relative to a smaller match ratio ($1:$1) had no additional impact, however. The results provide avenues for future empirical and theoretical work on charitable giving, cost-benefit analysis, and the private provision of public goods.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1774-1793
Number of pages20
JournalAmerican Economic Review
Volume97
Issue number5
DOIs
StatePublished - Dec 1 2007

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Economics and Econometrics

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