The differential impact of social norms cues on charitable contributions

Erin L. Krupka, Rachel T.A. Croson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations


Using a field experiment, we test the channel by which normative cues affect the decision process to donate to a public library. Our treatments consist of a reciprocity cue or an eyespots cue that is placed on the solicitation materials mailed out to potential donors during a public library fundraising drive. The data are consistent with a two stage decision process by which individuals first decide whether to make a donation and then decide how much to donate. We show that both cues significantly affect donation behavior by enhancing the intensity of the behavior while only one cue enhances the likelihood of engaging in the behavior. These results imply that what might look like a subtle or even fickle effect of normative cues on behavior is an economically sizable effect when we take into account what aspect of the decision process is affected by the cue.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)149-158
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Economic Behavior and Organization
StatePublished - Aug 1 2016
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2016 Elsevier B.V.


  • C93
  • D03
  • D64
  • Decision making
  • Field experiment
  • Public good
  • Social norms


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