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Publication - Professor Sarah Smith

    Can simple prompts increase bequest giving?

    Field Evidence from a legal call centre


    Smith, S & Sanders, M, 2016, ‘Can simple prompts increase bequest giving?: Field Evidence from a legal call centre’. Journal of Economic Behavior and Organization, vol 125., pp. 179?191


    We report the findings of a field study demonstrating the importance of non-pecuniary mechanisms for bequest giving. We show that a prompt to leave money to charity that includes social/emotional factors made during the will-making process increases by 50 per cent the proportion of wills that include a charitable bequest. In terms of magnitude, we show that this is one-third of the effect of a 40% estates tax at the threshold. We find little response to either prompts or tax-price changes among people with children indicating that, for many, leaving money to their children appears to preclude leaving money to charity.

    Full details in the University publications repository