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Do norms on contribution behavior affect intrinsic motivation? Field-experimental evidence from Germany

Pierre Boyer, Nadja Dwenger and Johannes Rincke ()

Journal of Public Economics, 2016, vol. 144, issue C, 140-153

Abstract: This paper studies how imposing norms on contribution behavior affects individuals' intrinsic motivation. We consider the church levy, which the Catholic Church in Germany collects as a charitable donation, despite the fact that the levy is legally a tax. We design a randomized field experiment with treatments informing individuals that the levy is a tax. We demonstrate that treatment effects differ across motivational types. Among weakly intrinsically motivated individuals, communicating the legal norm results in a significant crowd-out of intrinsic motivation. In contrast, strongly intrinsically motivated individuals do not show any treatment response.

Keywords: Intrinsic motivation; Crowding out; Charitable giving; Norms; Taxes; Public goods; Randomized field experiment (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: C93 D03 H26 H41 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2016
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DOI: 10.1016/j.jpubeco.2016.10.003

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