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On the norms of charitable giving in Islam: Two field experiments in Morocco

Fatima Lambarraa Lehnhardt () and Gerhard Riener

Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, 2015, vol. 118, issue C, 69-84

Abstract: Charitable giving is one of the major obligations in Islam and a strong Muslim norm endorses giving to the needy, but discourages public displays of giving. We report the results two field experiments with 534 and 200 participants at Moroccan educational institutions to assess the effects of this moral prescription on actual giving levels in anonymous and public settings. Subjects who participated in a paid study were given the option to donate from their payment to a local orphanage, under treatments that varied the publicity of the donation and the salience of Islamic values using either Arabic or French instructions. In the salient Islamic treatment, anonymity of donations significantly increased donation incidence from 59% to 77% percent as well as average donations for religious subjects from 8.90 to 13.00Dh out of possibly 30Dh. These findings stand in stark contrast to most previous findings in the charitable giving literature and suggest to reconsider potential fundraising strategies in Muslim populations.

Keywords: Charitable giving; Islam; Social pressure; Priming; Religion; Field experiment (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2015
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DOI: 10.1016/j.jebo.2015.05.006

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Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization is currently edited by Houser, D. and Puzzello, D.

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