How can Bill and Melinda Gates increase other people's donations to fund public goods?

Dean Karlan*, John A. List

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations

Abstract

We conducted a fundraising experiment with an international development nonprofit organization in which a matching grant offered by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation raised more funds than one from an anonymous donor. The effect is strongest for solicitees who previously gave to other BMGF-supported, poverty charities. With supporting evidence from two other fundraising experiments as well as a survey experiment, we argue this is consistent with a quality signal mechanism. Alternative mechanisms are discussed, and not ruled out. The results help inform theories about charitable giving decision-making, and provide guidance to organizations and large donors on how to overcome information asymmetries hindering fundraising.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number104296
JournalJournal of Public Economics
Volume191
DOIs
StatePublished - Nov 2020

Keywords

  • Asymmetric information
  • Charitable fundraising
  • Matching grant
  • Public goods

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Finance
  • Economics and Econometrics

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