Thursday, October 16, 2008

race and charitable giving

Christina M. Fong (Carnegie Mellon) and Erzo F.P. Luttmer (Harvard) run an experiment to test whether charitable giving to natural disaster victims depends on whether the donor is the same race as the victims. From their paper abstract:
We investigate the role of racial group loyalty on generosity in a broadly representative sample of the U.S. adult population. We use an audiovisual presentation to manipulate beliefs about the race, income, and worthiness of Hurricane Katrina victims. Respondents then decide how to divide $100 between themselves and Katrina victims. We find no effects of victims’ race on giving on average. However, respondents who report feeling close to their racial or ethnic group give substantially more when victims are of the same race rather than another race, while respondents who do not feel close to their group give substantially less.
This means that race does effect individual donations. However, on average, the effects cancel each other out, and no one is made significantly worse or better off from the biases.

The article is forthcoming in AEJ: Applied Economics. Download it here.

No comments: