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Research Talk by Deborah Small, Yale University (US)


We had the pleasure of welcoming Professor Deborah Small from Yale School of Management as part of our Research Seminar Series. Deborah Small is a prolific researcher with very interesting articles in the areas of prosocial behavior, emotion, moral judgement and consumer choice.

In our seminar, she presented her work “Put Your Mouth Where Your Money Is: A field experiment nudging consumers to publicize their donations to charity”. In it, she proposes and shows that donors can amplify their impact by sharing with peers about their donations. A hurdle for donors is the risk to their reputation, as in popular culture, talking about one’s good deeds can seeming “braggy”. In a large field experiment in partnership with an education non-profit, they test a subtle intervention aimed at encouraging word-of-mouth. The intervention focuses on making the social impact that sharing about their donation can cause more salient.

In the end, the brief intervention was able to increase sharing rates, likelihood of recruiting at least one later donation and funds raised via social-influence. This research sheds light on the power of social-influence and how it can maximize one’s impact. In this case, sharing about one’s good deeds can serve as a motivating tool for others to join.

We thank Deborah for taking the time to share her excellent insights with us.

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