A Field Experiment Involving Cash and Hypothetical Charitable Donations

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MacMillan, Douglas C. ; Smart, Trevor S. ; Thorburn, Andrew P. (1999)

An important focus for concern about Contingent Valuation (CV) is that hypothetical\ud payments for non-market goods are biased upwards in comparison to cash payments. Lack of realism, through its influence on incentives to mis-report payments, may explain the divergence. This paper reports on a study which attempts to overcome this problem by emulating a real fund-raising solicitation by the Isle of Eigg Trust for both real and hypothetical donations. In contrast to previous results, the mean cash donation was higher (£3.71) than the man CV donation (£3.41). A third survey, which used a neutral CV design, implemented by a research organization, obtained a mean donation which was much higher (£6.21) than the cash equivalent.
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