Behavioural public policies and charitable giving


Some of the challenges in Sanders et al. (this issue) can be aptly illustrated by means of charity nudges, that is, nudges designed to increase charitable donations. These nudges raise many ethical questions. First, Oxfam’s triptychs with suggested donations are designed to increase giving. If successful, do our actions match ex ante or ex post preferences? Does this make a difference to the autonomy of the donor? Second, the Behavioural Insights Team conducted experiments using social networks to nudge people to give more. Do these appeals steer clear of exploiting power relations? Do they respect boundaries of privacy? Third, in an online campaign by Kiva, donors are asked to contribute directly to personalized initiatives. In many cases, the initiative has already been funded and donor money is funnelled to a new cause. Is such a “pre-disbursal” arrangement truthful and true to purpose as a social business model

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