Do we donate more when others can see how much we give?

via Guilty Planet:

Economist Adriaan Soetevent collected data from 30 different Baptist churches in the Netherlands. The churches usually use closed collection bags (left) but, for 29 weeks, half of the churches were randomly chosen to replace the closed bags with open baskets (right). With the baskets, neighbors can observe each other ‘s contributions and churchgoers can also see the total amount of money already donated.


When baskets were used, the portion of small coins (up to 20 eurocent) declines as churchgoers shift to giving larger coins (1 and 2 euro). People don’t like to be seen giving small coins. 

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