Directed giving enhances voluntary giving to government

Sherry Xin Li, Catherine Eckel, Philip Johnson Grossman, Tara Larson Brown

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleOtherpeer-review

7 Citations (Scopus)


Giving to private charities is commonplace, and the chance to direct one s gift is a standard fundraising strategy. But voluntary donations to government organizations are less widely known, and the impact of the opportunity to direct a gift is unexplored. We investigate the effect of directed giving on voluntary contributions to government organizations using a real donation lab experiment. We compare giving to the US federal general revenue fund with directed giving to particular government organizations. Directed giving more than doubles both the likelihood of giving and the size of contributions, indicating that individuals are responsive to the opportunity to direct their gifts in the government context. Our results suggest that the revenue-raising potential of directed voluntary gifts to government may be underutilized.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)51 - 54
Number of pages4
JournalEconomics Letters
Publication statusPublished - 2015

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