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Volunteering and Image Concerns

Linardi, Sera and McConnell, Margaret A. (2008) Volunteering and Image Concerns. Social Science Working Paper, 1282. California Institute of Technology , Pasadena, CA. (Unpublished)

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We design an experiment to analyze the impact of image concerns and material incentives on volunteering. Our design retains the advantages of laboratory control while incorporating field context by engaging subjects in an actual nonprofit’s operation. We find that working in a public setting significantly increases volunteering. Monetary incentives have little impact, although they are slightly more effective in a private setting. Our results suggest that organizations have more to gain by catering to volunteers’ image concerns than by providing monetary benefits.

Item Type:Report or Paper (Working Paper)
Additional Information:Alternate version dating to January 13, 2008. This research was funded by Hewlett Foundation Grant 06-8866. We would like to thank Jacob Goeree for his support of the project throughout. We would also like to thank Colin Camerer, John Ledyard, Tom Palfrey, Rosemarie Nagel, Ori Heffetz and Anat Bracha for constructive comments. Thanks to seminar participants at Caltech and Yale as well as at ESA, ARNOVA, and ASSA Annual Meeting for comments on earlier versions of this paper, especially to Rene Bekkers (ARNOVA) and Nicola Lacetera (ASSA) for serving as discussants. Finally, we would like to thank School on Wheels for their input and partnership.
Group:Social Science Working Papers
Funding AgencyGrant Number
William and Flora Hewlett Foundation06-8866
Subject Keywords:prosocial behavior, experiments, voluntary contributions, incentives, social image, organizational design
Series Name:Social Science Working Paper
Issue or Number:1282
Classification Code:JEL: D64, C90, L30
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:20170728-144440439
Persistent URL:
Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:79554
Deposited By: Jacquelyn Bussone
Deposited On:02 Aug 2017 18:39
Last Modified:03 Oct 2019 18:21

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