Volunteer Now or Later: The Effects of Effort Time Allocation on Donations
Last registered on July 26, 2019

Pre-Trial

Trial Information
General Information
Title
Volunteer Now or Later: The Effects of Effort Time Allocation on Donations
RCT ID
AEARCTR-0004472
Initial registration date
July 24, 2019
Last updated
July 26, 2019 4:40 PM EDT
Location(s)
Region
Primary Investigator
Affiliation
Claremont Graduate University
Other Primary Investigator(s)
PI Affiliation
Claremont Graduate University
PI Affiliation
Virginia Military Institute
Additional Trial Information
Status
Completed
Start date
2017-06-21
End date
2018-11-23
Secondary IDs
Abstract
If you were asked to volunteer now or later, what would you choose? We present a model of volunteering that allows for the allocation of effort donations across time. We derive hypotheses regarding the effect of time flexibility on overall effort donations and on the tendency to renege on a promise to donate. We test the predictions of our model using an online experiment with a large sample of Amazon Mechanical Turk workers. We find that flexibility in choosing when to allocate effort donations increases overall donations despite of the added incentive
to renege on a promise to donate. Furthermore, compared to those who donate money, those who donate effort are more generous. The results provide support to the idea that donating effort (i.e., volunteering) differs, in fundamental ways, from monetary charitable donations
External Link(s)
Registration Citation
Citation
Capra, C. Monica, Bing Jiang and Yuxin Su. 2019. "Volunteer Now or Later: The Effects of Effort Time Allocation on Donations." AEA RCT Registry. July 26. https://doi.org/10.1257/rct.4472-1.0.
Former Citation
Capra, C. Monica et al. 2019. "Volunteer Now or Later: The Effects of Effort Time Allocation on Donations." AEA RCT Registry. July 26. http://www.socialscienceregistry.org/trials/4472/history/50754.
Experimental Details
Interventions
Intervention(s)
On Day 1, participants assigned to Group 1 (G1) were given the option to volunteer for charity now or not volunteer at all (i.e., directly refuse). Those assigned to Group 2 (G2) could choose to volunteer in three days or not volunteer at all (i.e., directly refuse). Individuals assigned to Group 3 (G3) were given the options to volunteer now, volunteer in three days, or not volunteer at all. To compare effort donations to money donations, we added an additional treatment, G2M, which was similar to G2, but allowed participants to donate money instead of effort to benefit the charity. On Day 4, subjects in G2, G2M, and G3 who planned to volunteer were given the option to confirm or renege on their planned donations.
Intervention Start Date
2017-06-21
Intervention End Date
2018-11-23
Primary Outcomes
Primary Outcomes (end points)
Time flexibility yields higher effort donations despite it leading to higher levels of dynamic inconsistency.
Primary Outcomes (explanation)
Secondary Outcomes
Secondary Outcomes (end points)
Secondary Outcomes (explanation)
Experimental Design
Experimental Design
On Day 1, subjects answered demographic questions and a set of "filler" quizzes and surveys. These included questions about exercise and eating, IQ-type questions, a quantitative time preference survey, and self-efficacy questions. At the end of the survey, all the subjects were directed to the donation decision and were asked whether they would be willing to answer additional questions to benefit a GiveWell charity of their choice. We call this additional survey the volunteer survey. All subjects in all groups were asked to affirm their initial donation decisions. Those in G2, G2M, and G3 who chose to answer the volunteer survey in three days were also given the option, on Day 4, to confirm or renege on their choice. If on Day 4, those who planned to volunteer chose to confirm, they were directed to the volunteer survey. In contrast, if they reneged on their planned donation, they skipped the volunteer survey and proceed to the follow-up survey. At the end of the entire survey, participants were asked to explain why they chose to volunteer or to renege on a plan to volunteer.
Experimental Design Details
Randomization Method
Randomization done by computer.
Randomization Unit
individual workers
Was the treatment clustered?
No
Experiment Characteristics
Sample size: planned number of clusters
649 participants via Amazon Mechanical Turk (MTurk)
Sample size: planned number of observations
649 observations
Sample size (or number of clusters) by treatment arms
There are 135, 178, 107, and 229 participants in G1, G2, G2M, and G3, respectively.
Minimum detectable effect size for main outcomes (accounting for sample design and clustering)
IRB
INSTITUTIONAL REVIEW BOARDS (IRBs)
IRB Name
IRB at Virginia Military Institute
IRB Approval Date
2018-04-10
IRB Approval Number
IRB #195
IRB Name
IRB at Virginia Military Institute
IRB Approval Date
2017-05-14
IRB Approval Number
IRB #195
Post-Trial
Post Trial Information
Study Withdrawal
Intervention
Is the intervention completed?
Yes
Intervention Completion Date
November 23, 2018, 12:00 AM +00:00
Is data collection complete?
Yes
Data Collection Completion Date
November 23, 2018, 12:00 AM +00:00
Final Sample Size: Number of Clusters (Unit of Randomization)
649 participants via Amazon Mechanical Turk (MTurk)
Was attrition correlated with treatment status?
No
Final Sample Size: Total Number of Observations
649 observations
Final Sample Size (or Number of Clusters) by Treatment Arms
There are 135, 178, 107, and 229 participants in G1, G2, G2M, and G3, respectively.
Data Publication
Data Publication
Is public data available?
No
Program Files
Program Files
Reports, Papers & Other Materials
Relevant Paper(s)
REPORTS & OTHER MATERIALS