[Voluntas] Does Windfall Money Encourage Charitable Giving? An Experimental Study

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Huafang Li, Jie Liang, Hui Xu, Yingxi Liu

Abstract
Recently, increasing numbers of nonprofit studies have used experiments to understand individuals’ charitable giving decisions. One significant gap between experimental settings and the real world is the way in which individuals earn the incomes that they use for charitable donations. This study examined the relationship between individuals’ income sources and their charitable giving decisions. To do so, we conducted a laboratory experiment with 188 college students and asked them to donate with windfall money or with money earned from a real task, respectively. The findings showed that participants donated more to charities if their funds derived from windfall gains. Implications for conducting experiments and motivating donors are also discussed.

Keywords: Windfall effect, Charitable giving, Laboratory experiment

Paper online: https://doi.org/10.1007/s11266-018-9985-y

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