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Warm glow in charitable auctions: Are the WEIRDos driving the results?

Remoundou, Kyriaki and Drichoutis, Andreas and Koundouri, Phoebe (2010): Warm glow in charitable auctions: Are the WEIRDos driving the results?

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Running conventional laboratory experiments (i.e., with a standard student subject pool) is common practice in economic experiments, especially when methodological enquiries are explored. However, the generalization of the results from such experiments to the entire population is a highly controversial issue in the literature. In this study we investigate and measure warm glow motivations behind giving in charitable auctions in a conventional lab experiment and an artefactual field experiment (i.e., lab experiment using subjects from the general population). Using a novel experimental design that allows isolation of warm glow from contributions motivated by pure altruism, we find that warm glow is only evident in the student population. Our findings cast doubt on the validity of generalizing the conclusions from conventional lab experiments to the general population.

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