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Publication Year



This paper is an empirical study of the motives for charitable donations. It is based on a unique dataset on the English National Opera (ENO) that includes detailed micro-level information on individual donations, tickets purchases, and the consumption of fringe benefits available to donors. This allows us to examine the extent to which individuals donate to fund a public good - here, new productions - or to have access to the private good - here, fringe benefits. We find evidence that individuals behave as if they feel pivotal in the provision of a public good. Moreover, we find that the relative importance of these motives varies cross-sectionally depending on the income level. Low income individuals, who buy cheap seats, are more sensitive to the private good motive. These results are important to show that individuals behave as if they were pivotal even in presence of a large number of potential donors. They may also help charities in developing their fund-raising campaigns and the government its grant policy.

Publication Research Centre

Institute of Finance and Accounting

Series Number

FIN 353


IFA Working Paper

Available on ECCH


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