An experimental investigation of intrinsic motivations for giving

Tonin, Mirco and Vlassopoulos, Michael (2010) An experimental investigation of intrinsic motivations for giving , Southampton, GB University of Southampton (Discussion Papers in Economics and Econometrics, 1008).


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This paper presents results from a modified dictator experiment aimed at distinguishing and quantifying the two intrinsic motivations for giving: warm glow and pure altruism. In particular, we implemented a within-subject experimental design with three treatments: (i) one, where the recipient is the experimenters, which measures altruistic feelings towards the experimenters (T1), (ii) the Crumpler and Grossman (2008) design in which the recipient is a charity, and the dictator's donation crowds out one-for-one a donation by the experimenters, which aims at measuring warm glow giving (T2), (iii) a third one, with a charity recipient and no crowding out, which elicits both types of altruism (T3). We use T1 to assess to what extent altruistic feelings towards the experimenters are a potential confound for measuring warm glow in T2. We find giving in T1 not to be significantly different from T2, suggesting that the Crumpler and Grossman test is an upper bound estimate of warm glow giving. We provide a lower bound estimate based on the behavior of subjects whose estimate of warm glow giving in T2 is not confounded, that is, those who do not display altruistic feelings towards the experimenters in T1. We use these two estimates to decompose giving in T3 into warm glow and pure altruism and find them to be almost equally important. We also propose a new method of detecting warm glow motivation based on the idea that in a random-lottery incentive (RLI) scheme, such as the one employed here, warm glow benefits accumulate and may lead to satiation, whereas purely altruistic motivation does not.

Item Type: Monograph (Working Paper)
ISSNs: 0966-4246 (electronic)
Related URLs:
Keywords: dictator game, warm glow, pure altruism, charitable giving
ePrint ID: 154439
Date :
Date Event
April 2010Published
Date Deposited: 25 May 2010 13:13
Last Modified: 18 Apr 2017 04:07
Further Information:Google Scholar

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