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Follow the Leader or Follow Anyone - Evidence from a Natural Field Experiment

Felix Ebeling, Christoph Feldhaus and Johannes Fendrich
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Christoph Feldhaus: University of Cologne
Johannes Fendrich: University of Cologne

No 03-04, Cologne Graduate School Working Paper Series from Cologne Graduate School in Management, Economics and Social Sciences

Abstract: In a fundraising field experiment we show that individuals are not only conditionally cooperative, but that they are also more prone to donate to a homeless individual when the previous donor has a higher social status. We trailed a homeless person asking for donations within Cologne's metro trains for two weeks. Thereby we systematically varied the status of the first giver in the train. In the control treatment we did not intervene. In the low status treatment the first giver was always a (poor looking) low status person from our team and correspondingly in the high status treatment a (rich looking) high status person. In our experiment the probability to receive a donation in a train is 65% higher in the low status treatment than in the control treatment. Additionally, in comparison to the low status treatment, the probability increases by 22% in the high status treatment. To our best knowledge this is the first study providing field evidence for the particular influence of high status individuals on others' economic activities.

Keywords: status; fundraising; field experiment (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: C93 D64 H41 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-cbe, nep-exp and nep-soc
Date: 2012-03-10, Revised 2013-01-20
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http://www.cgs.uni-koeln.de/fileadmin/wiso_fak/cgs ... aper/cgswp_03-04.pdf Version March 2012 (application/pdf)
http://www.cgs.uni-koeln.de/fileadmin/wiso_fak/cgs ... /cgswp_03-04-rev.pdf Revised version January 2013 (application/pdf)

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Persistent link: http://EconPapers.repec.org/RePEc:cgr:cgsser:03-04

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