Findings

Gifted

Kevin Lewis

December 24, 2010

Rising Up to Higher Virtues: Experiencing Elevated Physical Height Uplifts Prosocial Actions

Lawrence Sanna, Edward Chang, Paul Miceli & Kristjen Lundberg
Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, forthcoming

Abstract:
Many challenges of society involve getting people to act prosocially in ways that are costly for self-interests but beneficial to the greater good. The authors in four studies examined the novel hypothesis that elevating (vertical) height promotes prosocial actions. In Study 1, shoppers riding up (vs. down) escalators contributed more often to charity. In Study 2, participants sitting higher (vs. lower) helped another longer, while in Study 3 participants sitting higher (vs. lower) were more compassionate. In Study 4, watching video primes depicting scenes from a high perspective led to more cooperative resource conservation. These studies contribute uniquely to the prosociality literature by documenting previously unexamined effects of metaphor-enriched social cognition, and to the metaphor-enriched social cognition literature by documenting effects of elevated height on real prosocial actions.

----------------------

The Giving Type: Identifying Donors

Angela de Oliveira, Rachel Croson & Catherine Eckel
Journal of Public Economics, forthcoming

Abstract:
One commonly-used strategy in charitable fundraising is sharing names and contact information of donors between organizations, even those whose missions are unrelated. The efficacy of this practice hinges on the existence of "giving types," that is, a positive correlation at the individual level between giving to one organization and to another. We run an experiment using a non-student sample (an artefactual field experiment) in which participants have the opportunity to donate to multiple charitable organizations. We examine the relationship between giving to one organization and giving to another. Our results support the existence of a giving type; a factor analysis demonstrates that giving decisions are driven by a single (unique) factor, and individuals who give to one organization, give significantly more to other organizations than do non-donors. Our results have important implications for the economics of charity and for fundraising practice.

----------------------

Donating to disaster victims: Responses to natural and humanly caused events

Hanna Zagefka, Masi Noor, Rupert Brown, Georgina Randsley de Moura & Tim Hopthrow
European Journal of Social Psychology, forthcoming

Abstract:
The effect of the cause of a disaster, i.e. whether it was perceived to be caused by human or natural factors, on willingness to donate money to disaster victims was examined. In Study 1 (N = 76), the cause of a fictitious disaster was experimentally varied. In Study 2 (N = 219), participants were asked about their views regarding donations to two real-life disasters, one of which was perceived to be naturally caused while the other one was perceived to be caused by humans. In Study 3 (N = 115), the cause of a fictitious disaster was experimentally varied, but this time measures of the proposed psychological mediators of the effect on donations were included, namely perceived victim blame and the extent to which victims were thought to make an effort to help themselves. A measure of real donation behaviour was also added. In Study 4 (N = 196), the proposed psychological mediators were manipulated directly, and the effect of this on donations was monitored. Across all studies, more donations were elicited by naturally caused rather than humanly caused disasters. This difference was driven by a perception that the victims of natural disasters are to be blamed less for their plight, and that they make more of an effort to help themselves. Implications for theory and practice are discussed.

----------------------

Brother, Can You Spare a Dime? Peer Pressure in Charitable Solicitation

Jonathan Meer
Journal of Public Economics, forthcoming

Abstract:
While the effects of peer pressure in charitable giving have been of considerable interest to social scientists, there is little empirical evidence on the magnitude of these effects. A correlation between giving or volunteering by one's peers and one's own giving can be driven by self-selection into groups, common shocks that inspire both the solicitor to ask and the individual to give, or social influence. Using data from a university, this paper analyzes whether alumni are more likely to give and give larger amounts when they are solicited by someone with whom they have social ties. Freshman year roommate assignments and the structure of the university's giving campaigns are used to overcome problems of selection and common shocks. Social ties play a strong causal role in the decision to donate and the average gift size. Additionally, a solicitor's request is much more effective if he or she shares characteristics, such as race, with the alumnus being solicited.

----------------------

Getting in Under the Radar: A Dyadic View of Invisible Support

Maryhope Howland & Jeffry Simpson
Psychological Science, December 2010, Pages 1878-1885

Abstract:
There are many ways in which the provision of social support can be ineffective. Recent research suggests that the benefits of support may be maximized when it is provided invisibly. What remains unknown, however, is whether invisible support reflects the skillful behavior of support providers or recipients' blissful unawareness, as well as how invisible support is delivered during spontaneous social interactions. We hypothesized that both providers' skillful behavior and recipients' unawareness are necessary for invisible support to be effective, and we sought to document what effective invisible support looks like. Eighty-five couples engaged in a videotaped support interaction in the lab. Support recipients whose partners provided more invisible practical and emotional support (coded by observers) but who reported receiving less support experienced the largest preinteraction-to-postinteraction declines in negative emotions. In the case of practical invisible support, the combination of more support and less awareness of that support also predicted increases in self-efficacy. These results indicate that invisible support is a dyadic phenomenon.

----------------------

Truth in giving: Experimental evidence on the welfare effects of informed giving to the poor

Christina Fong & Felix Oberholzer-Gee
Journal of Public Economics, forthcoming

Abstract:
It is often difficult for donors to predict the value of charitable giving because they know little about their recipients. This concern is particularly acute when making contributions to organizations that serve heterogeneous populations. Prior research shows that donors are more generous if they know their assistance benefits a group they like. But we know little about the demand for such information. To start closing this gap, we study transfers of income to real-world poor people in dictator games. Our dictators can purchase signals about why the recipients are poor. We find that a third of the dictators is willing to pay money to learn more about their recipient. Dictators who acquire information mostly use it to withhold resources from less-preferred types, leading to a drastic decline in aggregate transfers. With endogenous information about recipients, we find that all types of poor recipients are worse off.

----------------------

Reciprocity and Need in Posthumous Organ Donation: The Mediating Role of Moral Emotions

Mandy Stijnen & Anton Dijker
Social Psychological and Personality Science, forthcoming

Abstract:
The effects of need and reciprocity on prosocial behavior have been primarily studied in separate research domains. A distinction between helping those in need and reciprocity is also made in current discussions on how to motivate posthumous organ donation, contrasting the help of needing patients with an equal contribution to a common pool of organs and effective measures against free riding. The authors examined the interactive effects of need and reciprocity on moral emotions relevant for helping (e.g., sympathy, guilt, moral anger) in an experiment in which participants imagined donating or not donating their organs to patients who were or were not willing to donate themselves and who differed in the need for an organ. They found that lack of reciprocity reduced the intensity of certain moral emotions (e.g., sympathy, guilt) but only under low need. High need appeared to arouse forgiveness for free riding. Implications for attempts to increase the number of registered organ donors are discussed.

----------------------

Small matches and charitable giving: Evidence from a natural field experiment

Dean Karlan, John List & Eldar Shafir
Journal of Public Economics, forthcoming

Abstract:
To further our understanding of the economics of charity, we conducted a natural field experiment. Making use of two direct mail solicitations sent to nearly 20,000 prior donors to a charity, we tested the effectiveness of $1:$1 and $1:$3 matching grants on charitable giving. We find only weak evidence that either of the matches work; in fact, for the full sample, the match only increased giving after the match deadline expired. Yet, the aggregation masks important heterogeneities: those donors who are actively supporting the organization tend to be positively influenced whereas lapsed givers are either not affected or adversely affected. Furthermore, some presentations of the match can do harm, e.g., when an example amount given is high ($75) and the match ratio is below $1:$1. Overall, the results help clarify what might cause people to give and provide further evidence that larger match ratios are not necessarily superior to smaller match ratios.

----------------------

Changing American College Students' Conceptions of Poverty Through Community Service Learning

Scott Seider, Samantha Rabinowicz & Susan Gillmor
Analyses of Social Issues and Public Policy, forthcoming

Abstract:
Americans' beliefs about the causes of poverty and inequality have a direct impact on public support for economic and social policies designed to reduce poverty. This study considered the impact of the Pulse Program at Boston College on participating students' beliefs about the causes of poverty. The Pulse Program is a community service learning program sponsored jointly by Boston College's philosophy and theology departments. Through a mixed-methods research design involving random assignment to a treatment or a control group, the authors found that Boston College students participating in the Pulse Program demonstrated statistically significant shifts toward an understanding of poverty that emphasized structural causes over individual causes.

----------------------

Jumping and Sniping at the Silents: Does it Matter for Charities?

Jeffrey Carpenter, Jessica Holmes & Peter Hans Matthews
Journal of Public Economics, forthcoming

Abstract:
Despite its popularity as a fundraiser for charities, very little research has been done on the bidding and revenue properties of the silent auction. This paper examines the consequences of two behaviors common in silent auctions, jump bidding and sniping, in laboratory experiments with endogenous participation. Our results suggest that deliberative jumping, the result of impatient bidders attempting to telescope time, tends to increase revenue, while deliberative sniping by experienced bidders tends to decrease it. We also show that when charities can encourage jumping and discourage sniping, silent auctions can perform as well as their sometimes more entertaining but more expensive alternative, the English auction.


Sign-in to your National Affairs subscriber account.


Already a subscriber? Activate your account.


subscribe

Unlimited access to intelligent essays on the nation’s affairs.

SUBSCRIBE
Subscribe to National Affairs.