Charitable Giving and Its Effects on Altruistic Behavior
Prosocial behavior is comprised of the acts of volunteering and charitable giving and is an aspect of human behavior that has been analyzed by economists in the recent past. When volunteering and contributing to charity are analyzed at surface level, it appears that those individuals who engage in these behaviors do so only for the benefit of those less fortunate or for the betterment of society. Research has shown, however, that one’s desire to volunteer can stem from various motives, one of which is warm-glow motivation. Warm-glow motivation is the desire to engage in prosocial behavior not because the prosocial behavior benefits society, but rather because it provides the individual engaging in the prosocial behavior with positive feelings that boost self-image. The research conducted in these laboratory experiments further analyzes prosocial behavior to draw conclusions relating to charitable giving and the manner in which charitable giving affects an individual’s altruistic behavior. Specifically, the laboratory experiments focus on the ways in which different social settings, including the public knowledge of an individual’s charitable donation, affect altruistic behavior and the motivations that underlie this behavior.