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Online salience and charitable giving: Evidence from SMS donations

Online salience and charitable giving: Evidence from SMS donations

536/2021 Carlo Perroni, Kimberley Scharf, Oleksandr Talavera and Linh Vi
working papers,behavioural economics and wellbeing,culture and development

536/2021 Carlo Perroni, Kimberley Scharf, Oleksandr Talavera and Linh Vi

We explore the link between online attention and charitable donations. Using a unique dataset on phone text donations that includes detailed information on the timing of cash gifts to charities, we link donations to time variation online searches for words that appear in those charities’ mission statements. The results suggest that an increase in the online salience to donors of the activities pursued by different charities affects the number and volume of donations made to those charities and to charities that pursue different goals. We uncover evidence of positive own salience effects and negative cross salience effects on donations.

Culture, Behaviour and Development