This study seeks to investigate the drivers of altruism that peer-to-peer wealth transfer platforms can leverage to raise resources for workers with lost income during the Covid-19 crisis. In particular, we partner with Bagirata, a Jakarta-based online wealth-redistribution platform, to collect comprehensive information from Bagirata donors and beneficiaries. Several treatment interventions would be implemented involving varying the number of recipient potential donors would observe when they access the platform, the number of other donors who have donated, and the share of the targeted donated amount that has been collected.
We will also conduct a randomized experiment on Bagirata's platform to explore factors influencing donor's decision to give and whether donors are susceptible to psychic numbing/choice overload when making their donation decision. Specifically, we randomize the number of potential beneficiaries and the beneficiaries displayed to donors and study the accompanying donation size for every web page visit. We will also vary the information about recipients shown to donors. In one condition, we will provide information on the sum of donations obtained so far, and in the other condition, we will provide information on the number of donors donating while keeping all else equal. We will compare these two conditions with a control condition where such information is absent.
This study will contribute to the experimental evidence on altruism and charitable donation in a developing country setting. This study also aims to contribute to the literature on cash transfers and altruism. Existing research shows cash transfers are a useful anti-poverty tool, and various government administrations have embraced this strategy to mitigate the impact of Covid-19. Nevertheless, investigations of disaster response that do not consider private and individual altruism responses cannot provide a complete picture. This study could provide evidence on their relative performance, targeting accuracy, and impact by comparing individual donations and government transfers. Furthermore, by combining data from user activities on the website and the donor survey, the evidence from this 'in-the-wild' interaction setting would also improve our understanding of altruism determinants (see Gee and Meer, 2020; Sudhir et al. 2016).
We want to investigate the following research questions:
1. What is the impact of choice set size on donors' decision making? Donors are randomly assigned to view either 3, 8, or 10 recipients at a time upon their visit to the website. Using this variation, we can analyze if donors are susceptible to choice overload/psychic numbing when they make a decision to donate.
2. What is the impact of diversity and competition among possible beneficiaries of the donations on donors' decision making? Donors see a random draw of potential beneficiaries from the Bagirata database. Each draw will vary in gender composition, occupation, social status, and other salient characteristics that would influence their decision to give. Using this variation, we can investigate the most salient drivers of altruism among donors.
3. Does providing information on the number of donors who have donated and the donations collected positively impact donors' incentive to donate, all else being equal?
4. Are there some other socio-demographic factors that influence the decision to donate?