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Charitable Giving by the Poor: A Field Experiment in Kyrgyzstan

Adena, Maja; Hakimov, Rustamdjan; Huck, Steffen; (2023) Charitable Giving by the Poor: A Field Experiment in Kyrgyzstan. Management Science 10.1287/mnsc.2023.4702. (In press). Green open access

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Abstract

In a large-scale natural field experiment, we partnered with a microlending company in Kyrgyzstan that asked over 180,000 of its clients for donations to social projects as a form of corporate philanthropy. In a 2 × 2 design, we explored two main (preregistered) hypotheses about giving by the poor. First, based on a conjecture that the poor are more price sensitive than the rich and in contrast to previous studies, we hypothesize that matching incentives induce crowding in of out-of-pocket donations. Second, we hypothesize that our population cares about their proximity to the charitable project. We find evidence in favor of the former hypothesis but not the latter. Previous studies of charitable giving focus on middle- or high-income earners in Western countries, neglecting the poor, although the lowest-income groups are often shown to contribute substantial shares of their income to charitable causes. Our results challenge the evidence in the extant literature but are in line with our theoretical model. The implications for fundraising managers are that the optimal design of fundraising campaigns crucially depends on the targeted groups and that donation matching is successful in stimulating participation in poorer populations.

Type: Article
Title: Charitable Giving by the Poor: A Field Experiment in Kyrgyzstan
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1287/mnsc.2023.4702
Publisher version: https://doi.org/10.1287/mnsc.2023.4702
Language: English
Additional information: This version is the author accepted manuscript. For information on re-use, please refer to the publisher’s terms and conditions.
Keywords: Charitable giving, field experiments, matching donations
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of S&HS
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of S&HS > Dept of Economics
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10168500
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