Empathy as added value in predicting donation behavior
Past behavior and socio-demographics represent traditional predictors of charitable giving. The present study examines, in a real fundraising setting, whether measures of empathy (i.e., empathic concern and personal distress) can improve these predictions. The findings confirm the relevance of traditional predictor sets and the added value of including measures of empathy. Empathic concern positively affects the donation decision. In addition, empathy negatively affects the donor's generosity toward one charity. However, for people with high empathic concern, considering only generosity toward one charity could be misleading because such people are more likely to donate to different charities. This result has implications for overall generosity. Therefore, a clear distinction between both personality traits is necessary.
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