Doctoral Dissertation Research in Economics: The Impact of Exogenous and Endogenous Information Acquisition on Giving
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An important question in the study of charitable organizations is what motivate people to contribute more? This proposed research will use theory and experiments to investigate whether providing more information about the value of the proposed public good at the fundraising stage will encourage more donations. The researchers will develop a theoretical model which predicts that providing more information to people who do not generally donate will encourage them to donate, while providing more information to those who normally donate decreases their donations. The researchers will use new and sophisticated methods to test this theory. Early test results confirm the predictions of the theory. The results of this research project are useful for formulating fundraising policies for charities---share more information with communities which would otherwise not donate. The research results also provide guidance on how governments can generate support for providing public goods. The research project also contributes to US global leadership in economics research by supporting graduate student research in economics and thus increases US?s research capital.This proposal will use theoretical and experimental methods to investigate the impact of providing more information about the value of a public good on voluntary cooperative giving. The research first develops a theoretical model to investigate the effects of providing information about the project''s value on expected contributions. The model predicts that the generosity level of the population plays an important role in how agents respond to information; information has the potential to increase average contributions in less generous populations but may decrease it in more generous populations. The PIs will then use laboratory experiments to test this model as well as measure people?s willingness to pay for such information. Preliminary experimental results confirm the theoretical predictions. The results of the research project have important policy implications for how charities provide information on the outcomes of their activities to generate more donations. It also provides guidance on how governments may generate support for the provision of public and merit goods.This award reflects NSF''s statutory mission and has been deemed worthy of support through evaluation using the Foundation''s intellectual merit and broader impacts review criteria.