Hassle Costs and Workplace Charitable Giving: Field Experiments with Google Employees

We use field experiments in the employee giving program at Google to demonstrate that hassle costs inhibit charitable donations. Relative to the control condition involving donation by credit card on the charity’s website, the treatment group received a simpler option to donate via payroll deduction, thereby decreasing the ‘hassle cost’ of giving by a couple of minutes. In each of two experiments, we found that reducing hassle costs increased the probability of donation to a promoted charity by at least 50%, without reducing average gift size. Results from the two experiments lead us to conclude that the convenience of payroll deduction reduces hassle costs and produces increases in workplace giving for promoted charities.


First version: June 2018

This version: May 2020

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