Hey look at me: The effect of giving circles on giving

Dean Karlan, Margaret A. McConnell*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

50 Scopus citations


We conduct a randomized field experiment with a Yale service club and find that the promise of public recognition increases giving. Some may claim that they give when offered public recognition in order to motivate others to give too, rather than for the more obvious expected private gain from increasing one's social standing. To tease apart these two theories, we also conduct a laboratory experiment with undergraduates. We find that patterns of giving are more consistent with a desire to improve social image than a purely altruistic desire to motivate others' contributions. We discuss the external validity of our lab findings for other settings.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)402-412
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Economic Behavior and Organization
StatePublished - Oct 1 2014


  • Experiments
  • Prosocial behavior
  • Social image
  • Voluntary contributions

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Economics and Econometrics
  • Organizational Behavior and Human Resource Management


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