Working Paper No. 1159

Seasonal Social Preferences

Published: March 22, 2017Pages: 28Keywords: Altruism; Charitable giving; Christmas; Social preferencesJEL-codes: C33; D03; D64; H41; Z10

Seasonal Social Preferences Mathias Ekström


Christmas is when people are expected to act selflessly for the well-being of others, but are people actually more altruistic at this time of the year? Responding to this question poses a challenge because of the confounding factors of charitable tax breaks, reciprocity motives, direct social pressure 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. Using nine years of data and more than 50 million individual giving decisions, I provide three main results.

First, the month of December is associated with an 18 percent increase in the proportion of donors, thereby providing strong support to the notion of seasonal social preferences.

Second, exploiting a reform that changed the price of giving, I find that this December effect is equivalent to a 42 percent discount on charitable giving.

Finally, half of the December increase in generosity persists into January before returning to the baseline in February.

Global index of the sharing economy

Timbro SEI

2018 Bergh Funcke Wernberg - Timbro Sharing Economy Index-1fHemsidan.jpg

Andreas Bergh, IFN and Lund University, is one of the authors of this book. The Timbro Sharing Economy Index is the first global index of the sharing economy. The index has been compiled using traffic volume data and scraped data, and provides a unique insight into the driving factors behind the peer-to-peer economy.

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