Meer, Jonathan. “Does Fundraising Create New Giving?” Journal of Public Economics. 145C, January 2017. pp. 82-93
Paper available at http://people.tamu.edu/~jmeer/Meer_Fundraising_Competition_JPUBE.pdf
Despite an extensive literature on the impacts of a variety of charitable fundraising techniques, little is known about whether these activities increase overall giving or merely cause donors to substitute away from other causes. Using detailed data from Donorschoose.org, an online platform linking teachers with prospective donors, I examine the extent to which matching grants for donations to certain requests affect giving to others. Eligibility for matches is determined in entirely by observable attributes of the request, providing an exogenous source of variation in incentives to donate between charities. I find that, while matches increase giving to eligible requests, they do not appear to crowd out giving to similar ones, either contemporaneously or over time.