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Research on Nudging People to Increase Donations to Effective Charities

by Closed Limelike Curves1 min read11th May 20206 comments


Effective giving

Hi, I'm wondering if people here know of any good research in behavioral economics or psychology on whether it's possible to increase the amount people donate to effective charities using small interventions, such as providing information or reminders. Thanks!

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My college thesis was a literature review on research of this kind (though I can't promise that I caught everything at the time, and "at the time" was five years ago).

So there's lots of small studies showing nudges work, but some studies say the same nudges are harmful. Instead, I'd recommend relying more upon evidence syntheses, when they're available. Some things that are 'strongly recommended' by theory and experts just don't stand up to the data (e.g., 'legitimising paltry contributions') because of counter-veiling forces (e.g., anchoring). A whole bunch of EAs finished this project earlier in the year to summarise all the evidence syntheses: https://psyarxiv.com/yxmva/ You might find it a useful summary.

I suggest you check out ideas42's research on this topic. It's funded by the Gates Foundation and there is more work underway now that I assume will be written up at some point.

Thank you so much – this is super useful!