Too Cold for Warm Glow? Christmas-Season Effects in Charitable Giving

25 Pages Posted: 27 Dec 2017 Last revised: 18 Jan 2018

See all articles by Stephan Müller

Stephan Müller

University of Goettingen (Göttingen)

Holger Andreas Rau

University of Goettingen (Göttingen)

Date Written: January 2018

Abstract

This paper analyzes seasonal effects and their potential drivers in charitable giving. We analyze whether donations differ between the pre-Christmas shopping season and summer. Our experiment aims to minimize confounding factors and controls for donor heterogeneity. We find that prosocial subjects significantly reduce donations by almost one half in the pre-Christmas shopping season. We identify stress and savings as significant drivers of this result. First, the higher subjects' reported stress level in the Christmas season relative to the rest of the year, the lower donations. Second, the higher relative savings, the lower giving. Moreover, the negative relation between stress and donations is only significant for prosocial subjects, which explains the observed seasonal effect. Our findings provide important managerial insights for the timing and design of fundraising campaigns.

Keywords: Charitable Giving, Experiment, Seasonal Effects

JEL Classification: C91, D64

Suggested Citation

Müller, Stephan and Rau, Holger Andreas, Too Cold for Warm Glow? Christmas-Season Effects in Charitable Giving (January 2018). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3091852 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3091852

Stephan Müller

University of Goettingen (Göttingen) ( email )

Platz der Gottinger Sieben 3
Gottingen, D-37073
Germany

Holger Andreas Rau (Contact Author)

University of Goettingen (Göttingen) ( email )

Platz der Gottinger Sieben 3
Gottingen, D-37073
Germany

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