University of Chicago
Chicago, IL, 60637
Institutional Affiliation: University of Chicago
NBER Working Papers and Publications
|March 2016||A Glimpse into the World of High Capacity Givers: Experimental Evidence from a University Capital Campaign|
with Steven D. Levitt, John A. List: w22099
The wealthiest 10% of donors now give 90% of charitable dollars in the U.S., but little is known about what motivates them. Using a natural field experiment on over 5,000 high capacity donors, we find persistence in giving patterns, that signals of program quality influence giving, and that the price of giving is not unduly important. Unlike typical small donors, our givers respond only on the intensive margin, and often with a longer time lag. Our study highlights the value to practitioners of partnering with academics, as our intervention has generated $30 million in incremental donations to the University.