I am a PhD Candidate in Economics at Humboldt University Berlin and was a visiting fellow at Evidence for Policy Design (EPoD) at Harvard Kennedy School.
My research uses insights from economics and psychology to tackle policy relevant questions related to development economics, public economics and the economics of philanthropy.
Defaults and Donations: Evidence from a Field Experiment , (with Steffen Altmann, Armin Falk, Paul Heidhues, and Rajshri Jayaraman), Review of Economics and Statistics, 2019, 101 (5), 808-826. Online Appendix.
Summary: We study how defaults affect charitable donations. In a field experiment that was conducted on a large online platform for charitable giving, we exogenously vary the default options in the donation form in two distinct choice dimensions. The first pertains to the primary donation decision, namely, how much to contribute to the charitable cause. The second relates to a “codonation” decision of how much to contribute to supporting the online platform itself. We find a strong impact of defaults on individual behavior: in each of our treatments, the modal positive contributions in both choice dimensions invariably correspond to the specified default amounts. Defaults, nevertheless, have no significant effects on average donation levels. This is because defaults in the donation domain induce some people to donate more and others to donate less. In contrast, higher defaults in the secondary choice dimension unambiguously induce higher average contributions to the online platform. We complement our experimental results by setting up and estimating a structural model that explores whether personalizing defaults based on individuals’ donation histories can help the online platform to increase donation revenues.
Summary: I study the implications of information frictions and hassle costs for the effectiveness of tax incentives in encouraging charitable giving. Empirically, I test whether mitigating information frictions by making tax incentives more salient and by providing information on the magnitude of tax incentives alters donation decisions by conducting a large-scale survey experiment, representative of the German adult population. To provide additional evidence from a real-life donation setting, I complement this with a large-scale field experiment on an online donation platform. My findings indicate that when tax incentives are made salient, and when information is provided, donations increase. I find that the main behavioral mechanism underlying information frictions is inattention. Analyzing who responds more to salience and information provision shows that it is predominantly individuals that face lower hassle costs and have high incomes. Because hassle costs disproportionally inhibit low-income individuals from taking advantage of tax benefits, hassle costs are regressive.
with Rajshri Jayaraman (University of Toronto & ESMT Berlin) and Michael Kaiser (LMU Munich)
Summary: We investigate how the demand and supply of charitable donations on a large online platform respond to natural disasters. We find that donations are concentrated in a small fraction of the 1,720 disasters in our 5-year period of observation. These tend to be severe disasters that receive media coverage. Event study estimates indicate that the pattern of disaster donations is consistent with donor fatigue over time and across disasters, but is inconsistent with crowding out of other charitable causes. Instrumental variable estimates suggest that charities could raise additional donations on the platform for disaster relief, had they fundraised for them.
Selected work in progress
Improving School Attendance of Girls in Afghanistan: Evaluating the Impacts of a Conditional School Grant Program
with Jan Berkes (DIW Berlin), Deon Filmer (World Bank) and Tsuyoshi Fukao (World Bank)
The spillover effects of Far-Right Voting: Evidence from the Forced Migration of French Algerian Repatriates
with Camille Remigereau (Humboldt University)