A Joint Programme of Friedrich Schiller University and the Max Planck Institute of Economics, Jena
Riener 2011

Decomposing Desert and Tangibility Effects in a Charitable Giving Experiment with David Reinstein (University of Essex). Forthcoming, Experimental Economics.

Charities and nonprofit organisations are continually looking for ways to increase the funding they receive from donations. In this paper we investigate whether the form of money used has any effect on the individual’s willingness to donate. From our results we suggest that people are less generous with more tangible forms of money such as cash. This leads us to suggest that charities should seek to raise funds from less tangible means such as direct debit rather than soliciting cash donations.

Reputation and Influence in Charitable Giving: An Experiment with David Reinstein (University of Essex). Forthcoming, Theory and Decision.

Existing work has shown that people tend to act more generously in public settings. We consider two major reasons why an individual might donate more when her actions are observed for two main reasons. She may be attempting to improve her own reputation for being altruistic or she may be trying to influence others to donate more to the cause that she in fact cares about. In this paper we run a series of experiments in an attempt to calculate the importance of each of these two effects, as well as measuring the influence that “lead donors” actually have on those who observe them. We find evidence that people try to influence others, and actually influence others’ donations, but only when the leader and followers meet face-to-face. We also conclude that females are more influential than males in leading others to donate.

For more information please visit Gerhard's webpage.