Charities use emotional stimulation including pictures and videos to induce charitable giving. While such methods have been known to be useful in inducing more giving, the question of what type of giving motive(s) is engaged or strengthened through emotional stimulation has not received much attention. Recent literature separates giving motives into altruism and warm-glow (Andreoni, 1989&1990). Altruists are concerned about the provision of a public good, regardless of the donation source, be it is from self or other source, such as a grant or taxation. However, warm-glow is a private benefit and moral pleasure from the act of giving. Thus, once a charity receives a third-party donation, pure altruists will reduce private donations while those motivated solely by warm-glow will keep their private giving unchanged.
In this study, we aim to disentangle the effect of emotional stimulation via videos on altruistic and warm glow motives for giving. Our goal is to understand the type of giving motive that emotional stimulations appeal to and strengthen. In our experimental design, subjects, before being asked to make donation decisions, are randomly assigned to one of the three video treatments: a neutral video, a recipient-focused emotional video, and a donor-focused emotional video. Thereafter, subjects make three donation decisions in random order: 1) a simple ask from a given endowment, 2) an ask with the same endowment and a third-party gift to the charity, 3) an ask with a lower endowment and a third-party gift to the charity. We will compare individuals’ giving and their extent of crowd-out of third-party gift across the video treatments to understand the effect of emotional stimulation on altruistic and warm glow motives.
Therefore, we expect to observe more warm-glow giving and lower levels of third-party gift crowd-out after emotional stimulation. We also hypothesize that a donor-focused video will result in a larger shift towards warm glow motives, while a recipient-focused video will strengthen pure altruistic motives.
Andreoni, James. 1989. “Giving with Impure Altruism: Applications to Charity and Ricardian Equiv- alence.” Journal of Political Economy 97 (6): 1447–58.
Andreoni, James. 1990. “Impure Altruism and Donations to Public Goods: A Theory of Warm-Glow Giving.” Economic Journal 100 (401): 464–77.