A Field Experiment on Group Competition and Charitable Giving

Last registered on June 14, 2021


Trial Information

General Information

A Field Experiment on Group Competition and Charitable Giving
Initial registration date
June 13, 2021

Initial registration date is when the trial was registered.

It corresponds to when the registration was submitted to the Registry to be reviewed for publication.

First published
June 14, 2021, 11:34 AM EDT

First published corresponds to when the trial was first made public on the Registry after being reviewed.



Primary Investigator

University of Cologne

Other Primary Investigator(s)

PI Affiliation
University of Cologne

Additional Trial Information

In development
Start date
End date
Secondary IDs
In collaboration with a large charitable organization, we conduct a large-scale field experiment designed to investigate the role of group identity for donation decisions in a natural setting. In particular, we test the hypothesis that perceived group membership has the potential to increase charitable giving. The intervention takes place in June 2021. In addition to the main research question, the project aims at shedding light on (I) whether it needs explicit incentives for salient group membership to have a positive effect on individual donation decisions, (II) where to locate the appeal to be most effective, and (III) whether effects of group identity on charitable giving can be further exploited by a supplementary peer-to-peer fundraising method. After approximately twelve months, we measure long-term effects of our treatment manipulation.
External Link(s)

Registration Citation

Oslislo, Christoph and Frederik Schwerter. 2021. "A Field Experiment on Group Competition and Charitable Giving." AEA RCT Registry. June 14. https://doi.org/10.1257/rct.7724-1.0
Experimental Details


In a regular donation request, we vary whether there is salient group membership and whether there is competition on the group level. The requests will be sent out via postal mail and supplemented with an e-mail (if applicable).
Intervention Start Date
Intervention End Date

Primary Outcomes

Primary Outcomes (end points)
Key variables of interest will be donation decisions at the extensive margin as well as donation sizes and total donations raised (also considering cancellation rates) under different treatment conditions and at different points in time.
Primary Outcomes (explanation)

Secondary Outcomes

Secondary Outcomes (end points)
To shed light on the behavioral mechanisms, we will additionally measure heterogenous treatment effects with respect to city characteristics (e.g. sizes), gender, and individual donation history, e-mail open rates conditional on treatment conditions as well as long-term effects of the intervention (measurement of primary outcomes one year later - before and after having published tournament results).
Secondary Outcomes (explanation)

Experimental Design

Experimental Design
In the first experiment, the intervention takes place in June 2021. Regular donors receive a donation request via postal mailing. All mailings are identical except from the precise wording of the appeal. In this experiment, we ask whether a salient group membership alone affects donations. In order to investigate this question, we prime a natural group identity of subjects in the treatment group without explicitly mentioning competition. Subjects in the control condition receive no group membership prime and no information on any competition. In addition, we test where the appeal needs to be located to be most effective. Using a 2x2 factorial design, we vary the appeal (Group vs.Individual) along one factor. Along the other factor, we vary where subjects are confronted with the appeal for the first time (Envelope vs. NoEnvelope).
Experimental Design Details
Randomization Method
Randomization done in office by a computer
Randomization Unit
Randomization on individual-level
Was the treatment clustered?

Experiment Characteristics

Sample size: planned number of clusters
approximately 42.000 donors
Sample size: planned number of observations
approximately 42.000 donors
Sample size (or number of clusters) by treatment arms
10.500 donors in each of the four treatment arms
Minimum detectable effect size for main outcomes (accounting for sample design and clustering)

Institutional Review Boards (IRBs)

IRB Name
Ethics Commitee UoC
IRB Approval Date
IRB Approval Number
Analysis Plan

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Post Trial Information

Study Withdrawal

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Is the intervention completed?
Data Collection Complete
Data Publication

Data Publication

Is public data available?

Program Files

Program Files
Reports, Papers & Other Materials

Relevant Paper(s)

Reports & Other Materials