The purpose of this investigation was to analyze if having the ability to set conditions influences one’s willingness to give. After asking participants to donate to a charity, donors were able to set conditions by specifying how the charity would use their donations. While past research has studied giving and prosocial behaviors in numerous ways, the idea of conditional giving has yet to be examined. This research, therefore, enhanced current scholarship by introducing the notion of conditional scenarios—situations that enable donors to control how their contribution is used. After conducting a controlled experiment, it was found that having the ability to set conditions does not significantly affect low or highly paternalistic donors’ giving behaviors. However, although conditional scenarios, paternalism, empathy, and prosocial values had no impact on giving, personal identity did significantly increase the probability that one would donate. Future studies could extend research on conditional scenarios by testing a larger sample size and examining whether other personality or identity attributes affect people’s decisions to act prosocially.


Boser, Beth

Second Advisor

Mellizo, Philip


Communication Studies; Economics


Behavioral Economics | Communication | Economic Theory | Other Economics


Giving, Conditional Scenarios, Paternalism, Identity

Publication Date


Degree Granted

Bachelor of Arts

Document Type

Senior Independent Study Thesis



© Copyright 2015 Stephanie Rachel Woodring