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Charity auctions in the experimental lab

Charity with Choice

ISBN: 978-1-84950-768-4, eISBN: 978-1-84950-769-1

ISSN: 0193-2306

Publication date: 17 March 2010


To transform donations “in kind” into cash, charities of all sizes use auctions and raffles. Despite this, neither the theory nor the practice of efficient fund-raising – and, in particular, charity auctions – has received sufficient attention from economists, especially the fact that participation in fund-raisers is endogenous. We describe, in detail, the design and implementation of an experiment to examine 15 charity auction mechanisms. While some of the mechanisms have already received attention from both theorists and empiricists, ours is the first comprehensive examination of all existing mechanisms and the first to explore the potential of a few new formats. Our analysis focuses on participation differences among the formats and how theory and supplemental survey data can help explain some of these differences.


Carpenter, J., Holmes, J. and Hans Matthews, P. (2010), "Charity auctions in the experimental lab", Isaac, R.M. and Norton, D.A. (Ed.) Charity with Choice (Research in Experimental Economics, Vol. 13), Emerald Group Publishing Limited, Bingley, pp. 201-249.



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