2018

Seasonal Altruism How Christmas Shapes Unsolicited Charitable Giving

Reprint No. 2018:47

Author(s): Mathias EkströmYear: 2018 Title: Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization Volume (No.): 153 (September) Pages: 177–193
Online article (restrictions may apply)

Seasonal Altruism How Christmas Shapes Unsolicited Charitable Giving Mathias Ekström


Christmas is a holiday of Christian origin with traditions that emphasize prosocial behavior, including charitable giving, but does it actually make people more altruistic? Responding to this question poses a challenge because of the confounding factors of charitable tax breaks, reciprocity motives, pressure from the solicitors and persuasive campaigns for giving that are more prevalent in December. In this paper, I use a unique solicitation situation where these factors are eliminated. Based on nine years of data and more than 50 million giving decisions, I provide three main results. First, the month of December is associated with a 14% increase in the probability to make a donation, thereby providing strong support to the notion of seasonal altruism. Second, exploiting a reform that changed the price of giving, I find that this December effect is equivalent to a 32% discount on charitable giving. Finally, half of the December increase in generosity persists into January before returning to the baseline in February.


Reference:
Ekström, Mathias (2018), "Seasonal Altruism How Christmas Shapes Unsolicited Charitable Giving". Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization 153(September), 177–193.

Mathias Ekström

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Interdisciplinary European Studies

Trust in the European Union in Challenging Times

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This is the first book in the Interdisciplinary European Studies collection. This volume provides an interdisciplinary perspective on trust in the EU from the vantage point of political science, law and economics. Lars Oxelheim, Lund University and affiliated to IFN, is one of the authors.

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