Altruistic Self-Concept Mediates the Effects of Personality Traits on Volunteering: Evidence from an Online Experiment
43 Pages Posted: 13 Mar 2020
Date Written: February 19, 2020
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: Suggested Citation