Conforming Conservatives: How Salient Social Identities Can Increase Donations
Journal of Consumer Psychology, Forthcoming
44 Pages Posted: 7 Jun 2017
Date Written: June 2017
This research considers how common perceptions of liberals’ generosity can be harnessed for increasing donations. Given conservatives’ greater tendency to conform to group norms than liberals, we theorize that conformity tendencies can increase donations by conservatives when accountable to a liberal audience who share a salient identity. Specifically, conservatives donate more when they are accountable to a liberal audience with whom they have a salient shared identity (Study 1) due to their motivation for social approval (Studies 3 and 4). However, if the donation context activates political identity (Studies 2 and 3) or if the unifying social identity is not salient (Study 4), accountability does not impact donation decisions. Notably, liberals do not alter their behavior, ruling out alternative explanations for the pattern of conformity. This research provides insight into the distinct role of accountability for conservatives and importance of audience characteristics for conformity. Though both liberals and conservatives can be generous, this research demonstrates how conformity can be used to increase charitable giving among conservatives.
Keywords: Political Ideology; Charitable Behavior; Social Identity; Social Norms; Conformity
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