Do You Enjoy Giving More or More than Others? The Positionality of Voluntary Contributions

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This study examines voluntary contributions from a microeconomic perspective, testing a distinction that has been prominent recently in economics but is novel in the study of voluntary contributions—between absolute and relative, or positional goods (goods whose value depends relatively strongly on position in relation to others). An experiment measuring social preferences under different conditions of positionality and visibility on a representative national sample (N = 607) revealed that voluntary contributions are largely positional, but that the positionality of volunteering is dependent on whether volunteering is visible or anonymous. These findings are discussed in the context of the economics of pro-social behavior, and implications for solicitation in different types of donors or volunteers are suggested.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)2755-2767
Number of pages13
Issue number6
StatePublished - 10 Dec 2014


  • Donations
  • Impure Altruism
  • Positional goods
  • Volunteering
  • Warm glow

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Business and International Management
  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Public Administration
  • Strategy and Management


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