To whom much is given

Kevin Lewis

November 05, 2017

Plutocratic Philanthropy
Emma Saunders-Hastings
Journal of Politics, forthcoming


What kinds of elite influence count as undemocratic? Ongoing debates in American political science have called attention to the ability of the self-interested rich to convert money into influence over elected officials. This article argues that democratic criticism of elite influence should also extend to elite philanthropy. It uses the case of philanthropy to argue that elite influence can be undemocratic even when public-spirited in its motivations and even when it bypasses formal political institutions. So far, political theorists writing on philanthropy have focused on insulating formal political institutions from money's influence or on ensuring tax fairness in incentivizing philanthropy. I argue that this focus is too narrow: democratizing philanthropy requires addressing the policy mechanisms and the public attitudes that privilege the wishes of donors over those of recipient organizations or the broader community.

Education, Perceived Control, and Volunteering
Joonmo Son & John Wilson
Sociological Forum, forthcoming


The consistent effect of education on volunteering has been explained in a number of ways. In this study we test the hypothesis that perceived control beliefs are partly responsible. Using two waves of panel data from National Survey of Midlife in the United States we estimated cross-lagged structural equation models in which education is positioned as the exogenous variable and perceived control and volunteering are allowed to be reciprocally related across the two waves. We find that perceived control predicts volunteering, but there is no reciprocal effect: volunteering has no effect on sense of control. One reason, therefore, that educated people are more likely to volunteer is that they have stronger control beliefs. The findings enrich the theory of volunteering by introducing the idea of agency, showing one way in which resources influence the decision to volunteer.

When Public Recognition for Charitable Giving Backfires: The Role of Independent Self-Construal
Bonnie Simpson, Katherine White & Juliano Laran
Journal of Consumer Research, forthcoming


This research examines the effectiveness of public recognition in encouraging charitable giving, demonstrating that public recognition can sometimes decrease donations. While previous work has largely shown that making donations visible to others can motivate donors, the present research shows that the effectiveness of public recognition depends on whether potential donors are under an independent (i.e., separate from others) or interdependent (i.e., connected with others) self-construal. Across seven experimental studies, an independent self-construal decreases donation intentions and amounts when the donor will receive public recognition compared to when the donation will remain private. This effect is driven by the activation of an agentic motive, wherein independents are motivated to make decisions that are guided by their own goals and self-interests, rather than being influenced by the opinions and expectations of others. This research contributes to the understanding of the nuanced roles of both public recognition and self-construal in predicting donation behavior.

Pro-social personality traits, helping behavior, and ego-depletion: Is helping really easier for the dispositionally pro-social?
Lorena Ruci, Zachary van Allen & John Zelenski
Personality and Individual Differences, 1 January 2018, Pages 32-39


The goal of the present study was to examine the motivational underpinnings of helping behavior by looking at self-regulatory demands in relation to pro-social personality traits. Across two experiments, we explored the idea that helping behavior is easier or more intrinsically motivated for those high in pro-social traits, and requires more effortful regulation for those low in pro-social traits. We reasoned that helping behavior may be less sensitive to fatigue, and less fatiguing, for pro-social people in an ego-depletion paradigm. Specifically, in Study 1 (n = 79), we hypothesized that people high in pro-social traits would show better Stroop task performance, following an initial helping task. In Study 2 (n = 91), we expected to find higher helping rates for those high on pro-social traits following a difficult Stroop task manipulation. Contrary to our predictions, Study 1 suggested that those high in pro-social traits were more cognitively depleted following helping, compared to those low in pro-social traits; in Study 2 high pro-social trait scores were associated with less persistence on a helping task following depletion. Overall, our findings suggest that helping behavior is more difficult or effortful for the dispositionally pro-social. Discussion focuses on possible explanations of and degree of confidence in this suggestion.

Too hot to help! Exploring the impact of ambient temperature on helping
Liuba Belkin & Maryam Kouchaki
European Journal of Social Psychology, August 2017, Pages 525-538


Building on the conservation of resources model, we conducted three studies to explore the link between ambient temperature and individual prosocial behavior. In study 1, analyzing the two-wave field data from a chain of retail stores in Eastern Europe, we find that, in hot, as opposed to normal temperatures, employees are less likely to act in a prosocial manner. In study 2, we replicate and extend these findings in a randomized controlled experiment by identifying mechanisms underlying the relationship between hot ambient temperature and helping behavior. Specifically, we find that heat increases fatigue that leads to reduction in positive affect and subsequently reduces individual helping. Finally, in study 3, we replicate these findings in a field experiment. Taken together, our study helps to explain how and through what mechanisms ambient temperature influences individual helping. The theoretical and practical implications of our findings are discussed.

Market Interaction and Pro-Social Behavior: An Experimental Study
Sean Collins, John Hamman & John Lightle
Southern Economic Journal, forthcoming


When actions generate negative externalities for third parties, incentives exist to pass these "morally costly" decisions to others. In laboratory experiments, we investigate how market interaction affects allocations when the right to divide a sum of money between oneself and a passive recipient is commoditized. Allocation to recipients is reduced by more than half when determined by subjects who purchase or keep the right to make the division as compared to a control where subjects are directly assigned the right. Sellers report accurate beliefs about recipient allocations and do not report feeling less responsible the more often they sell the allocation right. The market allocates the right to make divisions more frequently to buyers who allocate more to recipients, but sellers who allocate less to recipients tend to sell less often. Selection cannot solely explain the results, suggesting market interaction itself may directly impact behavior.

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