United States academics Jen Shang and Rachel Croson write in their study about actual donations to a public radio station.
Keeping up with the donors
The pair found donations increased 12% on average - or the equivalent of US$13 - if people were told another donor had given US$300. The effect was strongest for new donors, who might be unsure how much to give. A year on, people who had been told of the US$300 donation were three-times more likely to renew membership to the public radio station than those who were not. The study is particularly relevant now, as people have been keeping a very close watch their budgets amid the global financial crisis.
And keeping up with the Joneses
An abundance of research over the years shows the actions of others have a huge influence on spending decisions - and can even encourage a person to buy a new car. The behavioural economics idea of "peer effects" - or keeping up with the Joneses - suggests shopping, saving, work ethics and other factors are influenced by those around us.