The Emotional Consequences of Donation Opportunities

23 Pages Posted: 24 Nov 2014 Last revised: 21 Jul 2023

See all articles by Lara B. Aknin

Lara B. Aknin

University of British Columbia

Guy Mayraz

Department of Economics, University of Melbourne; CIFAR

John F. Helliwell

University of British Columbia (UBC) - Department of Economics; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

Date Written: November 2014

Abstract

Charities often circulate widespread donation appeals to garner support for campaigns, but what impact do these campaigns have on the well-being of individuals who choose to donate, those who choose not to donate, and the entire group exposed to the campaign? Here we investigate these questions by exploring the changes in affect reported by individuals who donate in response to a charitable request and those who do not. We also look at the change in affect reported by the entire sample to measure the net impact of the donation request. Results reveal that large donors experience hedonic boosts from their charitable actions, and the substantial fraction of large donors translates to a net positive influence on the well-being of the entire sample. Thus, under certain conditions, donation opportunities can enable people to help others while also increasing the overall well-being of the population of potential donors.

Suggested Citation

Aknin, Lara B. and Mayraz, Guy and Helliwell, John F., The Emotional Consequences of Donation Opportunities (November 2014). NBER Working Paper No. w20696, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2529869

Lara B. Aknin (Contact Author)

University of British Columbia ( email )

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Guy Mayraz

Department of Economics, University of Melbourne ( email )

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John F. Helliwell

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