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2013-09-15 | Peer Reviewed

Do people avoid opportunities to donate?: A natural field experiment on recycling and charitable giving

Martinsson, Peter, Conny Wollbrant and Mikael Knutson. 2013. “Do people avoid opportunities to donate?: A natural field experiment on recycling and charitable giving.” Journal of Economic Behavior and Organization 93: 71-77.
Download reference Doi:10.1016/j.jebo.2013.07.015

We use a natural field experiment to investigate the hypothesis that generosity is partly involuntary, by examining whether individuals tend to avoid opportunities to act generously.

In Sweden, new recycling machines for bottles and cans with an option of donating the returned deposit to charity were gradually introduced in one of the largest store chains. We find a substantial decline in recycling the month these new machines were introduced and a further decline in the following months. These results indicate that individuals avoid opportunities to act generously and corroborate findings from both lab and field studies supporting the claim that generous behavior is partly involuntary.