Doctoral Dissertations

Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy



Major Professor

Christian Vossler

Committee Members

Matthew Harris, Scott Gilpatric, Michael Price


This dissertation focuses on the behavioral economics of individual decision making and consists of three separate essays. In Chapter 1, I use a laboratory experiment to compare three popular point-of-sale solicitation methods: a fixed donation request (yes or no to a randomly assigned amount); a rounding request (yes or no to an endogenous amount); and an open-ended solicitation. Further, I examine the effects of providing (limited) information on the charity. In Chapter 2, I study key aspects of fundraising campaigns that utilize goals or provision points that must be met in order to provide a good or service. I use a laboratory experiment to comparecampaigns characterized by a final goal only, an intermediate goal and a known final goal, and a third setting where the final goal is known only if the intermediate goal is reached. Across these three settings, I vary whether an individual’s payoff from reaching a goal is uncertain or certain, which is intended to capture the effects of providing vague or precise information on the good or service to be provided. In Chapter 3, I examine the effects of officer-involved fatalities, including officer-involved shootings, on domestic violence reporting. I conduct this analysis using county and zip code level data to understand how concentrated any effects of policeviolence may be. Using within-county variation, I test whether the number of domestic violence reports decreases in the week after a fatal officer-involved encounter.

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