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QJE: Altruism versus social pressure in charitable giving

20 January 2012

On the OUPblog, the authors of a new Quarterly Journal of Economics article explore the motivations behind charitable giving and how social pressures affect our decision to donate to charity.

"Every year, 90% of Americans give money to charities. There is at least one capital campaign to raise $25 million or more underway in virtually every major population center in North America. Smaller capital campaigns are even more numerous, with phone-a-thons, door-to-door drives, and mail solicitations increasing in popularity. Despite the ubiquity of fund-raising, we still have an imperfect understanding of the motivations for giving and the welfare implications for the giver. One may wonder: what moves all of these people to donate? Is such generosity necessarily welfare-enhancing for the giver?"

Read the blog article: Altruism versus social pressure in charitable giving

Read the paper: Testing for Altruism and Social Pressure in Charitable Giving