IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this article

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


  • 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)


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

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:
    Download Restriction: no

    File URL:
    Download Restriction: no

    References listed on IDEAS

    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.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    More about this item


    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


    Access and download statistics


    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:gam:jsoctx:v:7:y:2017:i:2:p:13-:d:98177. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (XML Conversion Team). General contact details of provider: .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.