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SPI (Habit Formation and Incentives for Recurrent Donations to Charity : A Field Experiment with Online Giving Communities in France and United States)

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  • Funding organization : Society for Philanthropy Initiative (SPI) and University of Chicago
  • Budget : $ 30 000
  • Duration : Sept. 2014- Sept. 2015
  • Principal Investigator : Marie Claire Villeval
  • Partner : M. Castillo and R. Petrie (ICES, George Mason University, Washington D.C.)

Main objectives

- Repeat donations require commitment. Differences in habits, time preferences, incentives and social norms conspire to explain within and across country variations in individual giving over time. For instance, according to the World Giving Index of 2010, 64% of Americans donate money and 68% help strangers while only 31% and 28% of French people do.

- While differences in helping behavior across countries respond to tax incentives, government involvement in giving and transaction costs, intuition suggests that these patterns might also manifest through habit formation.

- In a field experiment with online giving communities in France and the U.S., we investigate the effectiveness of various mechanisms for committing to donate again when one has donated previously, to measure the costs to a recurrent donation commitment