Altruistic Self-Concept Mediates the Effects of Personality Traits on Volunteering: Evidence from an Online Experiment

43 Pages Posted: 13 Mar 2020

See all articles by C. Monica Capra

C. Monica Capra

Claremont Graduate University

Bing Jiang

Department of Economics and Business, Virginia Military Institute

Yuxin Su

Université Côte d'Azur - SKEMA Business School

Date Written: February 19, 2020

Abstract

The way we describe and evaluate ourselves or self-concept has a significant effect on our behaviors. An individual who describes herself as altruistic is more likely to engage in helpful behaviors than someone who does not possess such self-concept. Self-concept, in turn, is influenced by personality. In this paper, we propose that self-concept mediates the effects of personality on volunteering. We tested this idea experimentally with Amazon Mechanical Turk workers. In our experiment, participants answered a series of questionnaires, including the Big Five personality test and attitudinal questions that we used to construct an index representing altruistic self-concept. Participants were also given the option to make and keep a promise to volunteer by donating time and effort to a charity. Our results show that agreeableness has a strong influence on volunteering through its effect on altruistic self-concept.

Keywords: Charitable Donations, Volunteering, Personality, Self-concept, Experiments

JEL Classification: C9, D9, D64, J24

Suggested Citation

Capra, C. Monica and Jiang, Bing and Su, Yuxin, Altruistic Self-Concept Mediates the Effects of Personality Traits on Volunteering: Evidence from an Online Experiment (February 19, 2020). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3520990 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3520990

C. Monica Capra (Contact Author)

Claremont Graduate University ( email )

170 E. Tenth Street
Claremont, CA 91711
United States

Bing Jiang

Department of Economics and Business, Virginia Military Institute ( email )

Virginia Military Institute
335 Scott Shipp Hall
Lexington, VA 24450
United States
540-464-7451 (Phone)
540-464-7005 (Fax)

Yuxin Su

Université Côte d'Azur - SKEMA Business School ( email )

Block A4-A5, N 99 Ren’ai Road
Dushu Lake Science and Education Innovation Dist.
Suzhou, Jiangsu 215123
China

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