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Why Do People Give? Testing Pure and Impure Altruism

Mark Ottoni-Wilhelm, Lise Vesterlund and Huan Xie

American Economic Review, 2017, vol. 107, issue 11, 3617-33

Abstract: Researchers measure crowd-out around one level of charity output to identify whether giving is motivated by altruism and/or warm-glow. However, crowd-out depends on output, implying first that the power to reject pure altruism varies, and second that a single measurement of incomplete crowd-out can be rationalized by many different preferences. By instead measuring crowd-out at different output levels, we allow both for identification and for a novel and direct test of impure altruism. Using a new experimental design, we present the first empirical evidence that, consistent with impure altruism, crowd-out decreases with output.

JEL-codes: D64 L31 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2017
Note: DOI: 10.1257/aer.20141222
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