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The Pledging Puzzle: How Can Revocable Promises Increase Charitable Giving

James Andreoni and Marta Serra-Garcia

No 7965, CESifo Working Paper Series from CESifo Group Munich

Abstract: What is the value of pledges if they are often reneged upon? In this paper we show - both theoretically and experimentally - that pledges can be used to screen donors and to better understand their motives for giving. In return, nonprofit managers can use the information they glean from pledges to better target future charitable giving appeals and interventions to donors, such as expressions of gratitude. In an experiment, we find that offering the option to pledge gifts induces self-selection. If expressions of gratitude are then targeted to individuals who select into pledges, reneging can be significantly reduced. Our findings provide an explanation for the potential usefulness of pledges.

Keywords: prosocial behavior; charitable giving; pledging; intertemporal choice (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: D64 D90 C91 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2019
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-cbe, nep-exp, nep-ore and nep-soc
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Persistent link: https://EconPapers.repec.org/RePEc:ces:ceswps:_7965

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