Women practicing a traditional fan dance in Shanghai, China.

Consumers Sharing
Social Responsibility:
Pay-What-You-Want Pricing

Charitable giving is not recession-proof. Private donations in the United States fell by 6 percent in 2008, the largest drop since the Giving USA Foundation began tracking these numbers more than fifty years ago. A study published in the journal Science in July 2010 proposes a new model for corporate social responsibility that could result in more dollars for nonprofits and for-profit companies, even in tough economic times. The research supports a new concept—shared social responsibility—in which businesses allow consumers to express their own preferences when giving back to the community.

Professor Ayelet Gneezy and Professor Uri Gneezy from UC San Diego’s Rady School of Management.

Ayelet Gneezy, Ph.D., an assistant professor at the UC San Diego Rady School of Management, led the study on shared social responsibility, which was coauthored by Uri Gneezy, Ph.D., from the Rady School; Leif D. Nelson, Ph.D., from UC Berkeley; and Amber Brown, M.A., from Disney Research. Their pay-what-you-want model allows customers to take greater ownership of their donations and is an alternative to the standard-pricing model.

The researchers studied more than 113,000 theme park visitors. In the course of taking a roller coaster ride, each visitor was photographed and had the option of purchasing the photo at the exit. On some days, people could buy the picture for $12.95, with the understanding that half the revenue would be donated to charity. On other days, people could choose their price and were also informed that half the revenue would be donated.

The pay-what-you-want option produced the highest profits and the highest level of donor support. According to the study, people identify themselves more closely with purchases and resulting donations when they choose their own price. In addition, when the pay-what-you-want option is available, consumers do not infer sinister motives because the company risks earning very little or no money. The study suggests a method by which the pursuit of social good does not undermine the pursuit of profit.


“UC San Diego was selected because it has one of the best international relations programs in the nation. We hope to train some of the finest candidates to serve in the U.S. government and the Foreign Service corps, and allow those candidates to start the job without being thousands of dollars in debt.” —William S. Robertson, Chairman, Robertson Foundation for Government

THREE GRADUATE STUDENTS at the UC San Diego Graduate School of International Relations and Pacific Studies (IR/PS) will receive full financial support to prepare for careers in the federal government. The new Robertson Fellows Program, which begins in the 2010–11 academic year, is funded by the Robertson Foundation for Government (RFFG), a private foundation that has pledged $450,000 over the next four years.

The program will cover expenses for outstanding IR/PS students to complete their master’s degrees. Robertson Fellows must be proficient in a foreign language upon graduation and are required to work for the federal government for at least three of the first five years after graduation.

Transformation in
Pacific Cultures

The nations of the Pacific, including the Americas and Asia, are the center of the world’s population and economy, and its major source of advanced technology, natural resources, and agriculture. The UC San Diego Graduate School of International Relations and Pacific Studies (IR/PS) has helped to build a strong Pacific community by creating ideas, training leaders, and providing networks that will shape the twenty-first century.

For more than twenty years, IR/PS has been redefining international relations, public policy, and management. Its research faculty turns theory into practical tools for problem solving, and its graduates have assumed leadership positions in government, business, and nonprofit organizations around the world.

In these challenging economic times, many professionals from a wide variety of careers are returning to school for additional education. To meet their needs, IR/PS launched its executive Master of Advanced Studies in International Affairs (MAS-IA) degree program in 2010. It gives participants a deeper understanding of the dynamic political, economic, and business environment of the Pacific region, and offers advanced education to prepare them to assume senior leadership positions in their fields. The degree can be completed in one year or within two years on a part-time basis.

IR/PS has also made a substantial commitment to continuing education, offering customized training in international management and relations and comparative public policy. The school offers predeployment training for U.S. Marines officers along with graduate-level executive training that provides valuable insights into strategies for salient geopolitical, economic, security, and human concerns in the Asia-Pacific region.

The political, economic, social, cultural, and military transformation of China is contributing to its rapid emergence as a world economic power. IR/PS’s new 21st Century China program has sharpened the focus on China’s transformation.