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The effect of recipient contribution requirements on support for social programs

Sally Sadoff and Anya Samek

Journal of Public Economics, 2019, vol. 169, issue C, 1-16

Abstract: A large literature examines the use of recipient contribution requirements in social programs to target people who most need and value aid. Yet little is known about public support for such requirements. In a field experiment with a nationally representative sample, we examine the effect of recipient contributions on charitable donations to a food aid program. The response to recipient monetary contributions is non-monotonic: donations increase when recipients make small monetary contributions and return to baseline under large recipient contributions. Recipient time contribution requirements also increase program support. Results from additional treatments suggest that individuals use contribution requirements to increase both allocative efficiency (screening recipients who most value the good) and targeting efficiency (screening recipients most in need). Our work informs the design of social programs, which must respond to the preferences of voters and donors who provide political and financial support.

Keywords: Recipient contributions; Social programs; Charitable giving; Experiment (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2019
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