Ruhr Economic Papers

Ruhr Economic Papers #690

Distributional Preferences and Donation Behavior Among Marine Resource Users in Wakatobi, Indonesia

by Katherine M. Nelson, Achim Schlüter and Colin Vance

RWI, 05/2017, 30 S./p., 8 Euro, ISBN 978-3-86788-800-4 DOI: 10.4419/86788800



This study examines the effect of participants’ distributional preferences on donations of money and time using a field experiment with marine resource users in Indonesia. Individuals participate in a real effort task to earn money and are faced with a donation decision under different treatments – monetary donation, time donation, monetary match, and time match. In the distributional preferences elicitation we classify individuals’ preferences as benevolent, egalitarian, own-money-maximizing, and spiteful. We find that the different distributional preference types are a significant indicator of participants’ donation behavior. The people showing spiteful preferences and those that focus only on maximizing their own payoff are less likely to donate any amount compared to those that make egalitarian choices. Furthermore, we find strong evidence that individuals that choose payoff structures characterized as “benevolent” donate a significantly higher amount compared to the egalitarian types. We analyze the results econometrically in two-stages to better understand the determining factors for whether an individual donates and those factors that determine how much one donates. Practical implications involve the segmentation of the target audience, not by the type of charity but by the mechanism which motivates their donation behavior.

JEL-Classification: Q22, Z1

Keywords: Distributional preferences; donations; field experiment