Anonymous Giving as a Vice: An Application of Image Motivation


While some donors boast about their giving, others give anonymously. A novel feature of this paper is that anonymity is endogenously controlled by donors themselves, not exogenously controlled by fundraisers. Is anonymous giving really a virtue, as is generally recognised? Paradoxically, this paper proves that anonymity is a vice for fundraisers even if it is what donors desire. If many altruists (a good type) switch from known to anonymous giving, it relatively lowers the group reputation of known donors and enhances that of non-donors. These effects dilute the incentive for other individuals to become known donors, if they have psychological “image motivation”. I suggest a practical method to control the expected number of anonymous donors: fundraisers remove the “check boxes” from their web sites.

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M. Tamura, "Anonymous Giving as a Vice: An Application of Image Motivation," Theoretical Economics Letters, Vol. 2 No. 4, 2012, pp. 385-390. doi: 10.4236/tel.2012.24071.

Conflicts of Interest

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.


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