Delegating altruism: Toward an understanding of agency in charitable giving
Luigi Butera and
Daniel Houser ()
Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, 2018, vol. 155, issue C, 99-109
Philanthropy, and particularly ensuring that one’ s giving is effective, can require substantial time and effort. One way to reduce these costs could be to encourage delegation of giving decisions to better-informed others. At the same time, because it involves a loss of agency, delegating these decisions may reduce one’s charitable impulse. Unfortunately, the importance of agency in charitable decisions remains largely unexplored. In this paper we shed light on this issue using a laboratory experiment with real donations in which we systematically vary the monetary and agency costs associated with making informed and effective giving decisions,. Our main finding is that agency seems to play a small role in promoting giving. In particular, people do not reduce donations when giving decisions are made by algorithms that guarantee efficient recipients but limit donors’ control over giving recipients. Moreover, we find that participating in giving groups - a weaker form of delegated giving -is also effective in that they are appealing to donors who would not otherwise make informed donations, and thus improves overall effective giving. Our results suggest that one path to promoting effective giving may be to create institutions that facilitate delegated generosity.
Keywords: Altruism; Laboratory experiment; Agency; Charitable giving (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: C9 D64 D71 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
References: View references in EconPapers View complete reference list from CitEc
Citations: Track citations by RSS feed
Downloads: (external link)
Full text for ScienceDirect subscribers only
Working Paper: Delegating Altruism: Toward an Understanding of Agency in Charitable Giving (2016)
This item may be available elsewhere in EconPapers: Search for items with the same title.
Export reference: BibTeX
RIS (EndNote, ProCite, RefMan)
Persistent link: https://EconPapers.repec.org/RePEc:eee:jeborg:v:155:y:2018:i:c:p:99-109
Access Statistics for this article
Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization is currently edited by Houser, D. and Puzzello, D.
More articles in Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization from Elsevier
Bibliographic data for series maintained by Dana Niculescu ().