Look to others before you leap: A Systematic Literature Review of Social Information Effects on Charitable Giving

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Abstract

People are influenced by information about otherpeople’sbehavior, i.e. social information, which isfrequently used by practitioners to increase charitable giving. Although researchers have suggested that social information is an effective stimulant of donation behavior, the precise mechanisms through which social information works areunknown. Our review,based on 31studies,showsthat this body ofliterature lacksconsensus on when and how social information affectsdonation behavior. We show thatseveral studies reportno or even negative effectsand thatthis field has been predominantly data driven with insufficient theoreticalsupport to justifyconclusions. We integrate the empirical findings in thewiderfieldsof social psychology and behavioraleconomics, and propose a theoretical model which specifies that the effects of social information on donationbehaviorarecontext specific.
Original languageEnglish
PublisherNonprofit and Voluntary Sector Quarterly
Pages53-73
Volume49
Publication statusPublished - 2020

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