Is Altruism Sensitive to Scope? The Role of Tangibility
AbstractPrior work has shown that people appear insensitive to the scope of their altruistic acts and prosocial behavior. While they respond positively when their choices lead to increasing rewards for themselves, people do not change their behavior when the outcomes for others increase. We demonstrate that the scope sensitivity of altruism depends critically on its tangibility, and suggest that this relationship operates through mental accounting. We show that by increasing the level of tangibility, people can become just as sensitive to changes in the size of rewards for others as if they were earning the rewards themselves.
CitationImas, Alex, and George Loewenstein. 2018. "Is Altruism Sensitive to Scope? The Role of Tangibility." AEA Papers and Proceedings, 108: 143-47. DOI: 10.1257/pandp.20181094
- D64 Altruism; Philanthropy; Intergenerational Transfers