NEW UPDATE: Completed trials may now upload and register supplementary documents (e.g. null results reports, populated pre-analysis plans, or post-trial results reports) in the Post Trial section under Reports, Papers, & Other Materials.
Hey Look at Me: The Effect of Giving Circles on Giving
Initial registration date
April 12, 2017
April 12, 2017 4:51 PM EDT
Other Primary Investigator(s)
Harvard School of Public Health (HSPH)
Additional Trial Information
Theories abound for why individuals give to charity. We conduct a randomized field experiment with a Yale service club and find that the promise of public recognition increases giving. Some may claim that they give when offered public recognition in order to motivate others to give too, rather than for the more obvious expected private gain from increasing one's social standing. To tease apart these two theories, we also conduct a laboratory experiment with undergraduates. Our evidence is not consistent with individuals giving primarily because of a desire to influence the gifts of others. We conclude that social image motivations are a central determinant of giving when gifts are publicly recognized.
Intervention Start Date
Intervention End Date
Primary Outcomes (end points)
Level of donation
Primary Outcomes (explanation)
Secondary Outcomes (end points)
Secondary Outcomes (explanation)
In the field experiment, prior donors were randomly assigned different phone calls that would mention different kinds of publicizing of future donations. In the lab experiment, people would be allocated money ($5) and then randomly were told that their decisions would be made public after 2 or 3 rounds of decision making.
Experimental Design Details
Randomization done in office by a computer
Was the treatment clustered?
Sample size: planned number of clusters
4168 in field, 94 in lab
Sample size: planned number of observations
4168 in field, 94 in lab
Sample size (or number of clusters) by treatment arms
1/4 for each of 4 arms in field, 1/2 for each of 2 arms in lab.
Minimum detectable effect size for main outcomes (accounting for sample design and clustering)
INSTITUTIONAL REVIEW BOARDS (IRBs)
Post Trial Information
Is the intervention completed?
Intervention Completion Date
October 31, 2010, 12:00 AM +00:00
Is data collection complete?
Data Collection Completion Date
Final Sample Size: Number of Clusters (Unit of Randomization)
Was attrition correlated with treatment status?
Final Sample Size: Total Number of Observations
4,168 individuals in the field experiment; 94 individuals in the lab experiment
Final Sample Size (or Number of Clusters) by Treatment Arms
1042 individuals in the control group; 3126 in one of the three treatment groups (equally divided) for the Field Experiment
47 individuals in the control group; 47 individuals in the treatment group for the Lab Experiment
Reports, Papers & Other Materials
Karlan, Dean, and Margaret A. McConnell. "Hey look at me: The effect of giving circles on giving." Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization 106 (2014): 402-412.
REPORTS & OTHER MATERIALS