Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

People with higher bonuses don't give more to charity

Date:
April 3, 2014
Source:
University of Southampton
Summary:
People who receive higher bonuses are less likely to give to charity than those on lower earnings, research from economists has demonstrated. The study shows higher earners are less inclined to give, and donate a similar share of their money compared to those on lower incomes. The researchers also found that people getting high bonuses tended to attribute their windfall to their own hard work or achievement, even if in fact it was actually just down to good fortune.

Research by economists at the University of Southampton has shown people who receive higher bonuses are less likely to give to charity than those on lower earnings.

Related Articles


The study by Dr Mirco Tonin and Dr Michael Vlassopoulos shows higher earners are less inclined to give, and donate a similar share of their money compared to those on lower incomes.

The researchers also found that people getting high bonuses tended to attribute their windfall to their own hard work or achievement, even if in fact it was actually just down to good fortune.

Dr Mirco Tonin comments: "Our findings suggest that receiving higher pay due to good luck is not generating a stronger need to 'give back to society'. This is probably because people instinctively attribute their high pay or bonuses to being a reward purely for their own skills and effort, even if there is actually an element of luck involved. As such, they feel entitled to the money."

The study, funded by the Economic and Social Research Council, set out to explore whether people who earn a higher income are more likely to give when placed in an environment in which earnings depend on luck, but not in a manner that makes its contribution obvious to them.

The researchers recruited 104 people to perform a data entry task for a fixed wage of 5 per hour, plus a performance dependent bonus. Despite very similar performances from all the participants, half of them were given a low bonus (2 per hour), while the other half received a high bonus (6 per hour). None of the participants were aware that the size of the performance bonus they received was actually being determined randomly. After completing their four hour job, all those taking part were asked whether they wanted to donate some of their earnings to charity.

Thirty seven per cent of those receiving a low bonus decided to give a share to charity, while the figure was 21 per cent for those receiving a bonus that was three times higher. In addition, donors in the two groups gave a similar share of their earnings to charity -- 9 per cent.

Dr Tonin says: "Psychologists have well documented the human tendency to attribute good outcomes to their own actions, rather than to external factors such as luck -- the so called 'self-serving attribution bias'. In our case, this process may lead subjects in the high bonus group to make an assumption that their high earnings were due to their own effort, even if in reality this isn't the case. In turn, this distorted feeling of entitlement may furnish subjects in the higher earner group with the moral ground not to act more generously."

The researchers highlight that, from a fundraising perspective, the study suggests that charities should not target their effort towards high earners and disregard low earners, but rather spread their effort across the whole of society.

The paper, Sharing One's Fortune? An Experimental Study on Earned Income and Giving can be found here: http://ftp.iza.org/dp7294.pdf


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Southampton. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

University of Southampton. "People with higher bonuses don't give more to charity." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 3 April 2014. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/04/140403105752.htm>.
University of Southampton. (2014, April 3). People with higher bonuses don't give more to charity. ScienceDaily. Retrieved December 18, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/04/140403105752.htm
University of Southampton. "People with higher bonuses don't give more to charity." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/04/140403105752.htm (accessed December 18, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Science & Society News

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Navy Unveils Robot Fish

Navy Unveils Robot Fish

Reuters - Light News Video Online (Dec. 18, 2014) The U.S. Navy unveils an underwater device that mimics the movement of a fish. Tara Cleary reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Kids Die While Under Protective Services

Kids Die While Under Protective Services

AP (Dec. 18, 2014) As part of a six-month investigation of child maltreatment deaths, the AP found that hundreds of deaths from horrific abuse and neglect could have been prevented. AP's Haven Daley reports. (Dec. 18) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
How 2014 Shaped The Future Of The Internet

How 2014 Shaped The Future Of The Internet

Newsy (Dec. 18, 2014) It has been a long, busy year for Net Neutrality. The stage is set for an expected landmark FCC decision sometime in 2015. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Ford Expands Air Bag Recall Nationwide

Ford Expands Air Bag Recall Nationwide

Newsy (Dec. 18, 2014) The automaker added 447,000 vehicles to its recall list, bringing the total to more than 502,000. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Science & Society

Business & Industry

Education & Learning

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins