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Social Loafing in the Refugee Crisis: Information about Existing Initiatives Decreases Willingness to Help

Author

Listed:
  • Simon Schindler

    () (Department of Psychology, University of Kassel, Holländische Str. 36-38, 34131 Kassel, Germany)

  • Gerhard Reese

    () (Department of Psychology, University of Koblenz-Landau, Fortstr. 7, 76829 Landau, Germany)

Abstract

In light of the European refugee situation, we investigate how information about others’ support influences individuals’ willingness to help. When individuals see information about other people supporting refugees, they may either be influenced by a descriptive norm, and act accordingly. Alternatively, they may perceive that others are already doing the job, and thus engage in social loafing. In an experiment ( N = 132), we tested these competing predictions. Specifically, participants were exposed to a map of Germany that either indicated many or few helping initiatives across the country. In a control group, no map was shown. Subsequently, participants were asked about their willingness to help. While there was no effect between the two map conditions, results revealed that participants reported lower willingness to help in both map conditions, compared with the control group. Thus, providing information about helping projects results in social loafing, jeopardizing widespread communication strategies to increase solidarity.

Suggested Citation

  • Simon Schindler & Gerhard Reese, 2017. "Social Loafing in the Refugee Crisis: Information about Existing Initiatives Decreases Willingness to Help," Societies, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 7(2), pages 1-6, May.
  • Handle: RePEc:gam:jsoctx:v:7:y:2017:i:2:p:13-:d:98177
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Noah J. Goldstein & Robert B. Cialdini & Vladas Griskevicius, 2008. "A Room with a Viewpoint: Using Social Norms to Motivate Environmental Conservation in Hotels," Journal of Consumer Research, Oxford University Press, vol. 35(3), pages 472-482, March.
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    social loafing; descriptive norms; helping behavior; refugees; media;

    JEL classification:

    • A13 - General Economics and Teaching - - General Economics - - - Relation of Economics to Social Values
    • A14 - General Economics and Teaching - - General Economics - - - Sociology of Economics
    • P - Economic Systems
    • P0 - Economic Systems - - General
    • P1 - Economic Systems - - Capitalist Systems
    • P2 - Economic Systems - - Socialist Systems and Transition Economies
    • P3 - Economic Systems - - Socialist Institutions and Their Transitions
    • P4 - Economic Systems - - Other Economic Systems
    • P5 - Economic Systems - - Comparative Economic Systems
    • Z1 - Other Special Topics - - Cultural Economics

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