Abstract

http://ssrn.com/abstract=2438279
 


 



I'm Moral, But I Won't Help You: The Distinct Roles of Empathy and Justice in Donations


Saerom Lee


University of Texas at San Antonio - College of Business

Karen Page Winterich


Smeal College of Business

William T. Ross Jr.


Pennsylvania State University - Department of Marketing

May 17, 2014

Journal of Consumer Research, Forthcoming

Abstract:     
Donating to charitable causes is generally perceived as a moral, prosocial behavior, but this may not always be the case. Though moral identity tends to have a positive effect on prosocial behavior, moral identity does not unconditionally enhance charitable giving. Four studies demonstrate that moral identity decreases donations when recipients are responsible for their plight. Mediation analysis reveals that empathy and justice underlie these effects such that moral identity increases donations for recipients with low plight responsibility through increased empathy, but moral identity decreases donations to recipients with high plight responsibility due to perceptions of justice. Importantly, donations to recipients who are responsible for their plight can be enhanced when donors’ immorality is made salient, evoking empathy for recipients, particularly among donors with high moral identity. This research makes theoretical contributions in addition to providing implications for non-profit organizations whose recipients may be perceived as responsible for their plight.

Number of Pages in PDF File: 61

Keywords: donations, responsibility, moral identity, non-profit, justice, empathy

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Date posted: May 19, 2014  

Suggested Citation

Lee, Saerom and Winterich, Karen Page and Ross, William T., I'm Moral, But I Won't Help You: The Distinct Roles of Empathy and Justice in Donations (May 17, 2014). Journal of Consumer Research, Forthcoming. Available at SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=2438279

Contact Information

Saerom Lee
University of Texas at San Antonio - College of Business ( email )
San Antonio, TX 78249
United States
Karen Page Winterich (Contact Author)
Smeal College of Business ( email )
University Park, PA 16802
United States
William T. Ross Jr.
Pennsylvania State University - Department of Marketing ( email )
University Park, PA 16802-3306
United States
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