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Empathy as Added Value in Predicting Donation Behavior



Past behavior and sociodemographics 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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Paper provided by Ghent University, Faculty of Economics and Business Administration in its series Working Papers of Faculty of Economics and Business Administration, Ghent University, Belgium with number 10/692.

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Length: 31 pages
Date of creation: Dec 2010
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:rug:rugwps:10/692
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  1. John List, 2008. "Introduction to field experiments in economics with applications to the economics of charity," Experimental Economics, Springer, vol. 11(3), pages 203-212, September.
  2. Glenn Harrison & John List, 2004. "Field experiments," Artefactual Field Experiments 00058, The Field Experiments Website.
  3. Ajzen, Icek, 1991. "The theory of planned behavior," Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, Elsevier, vol. 50(2), pages 179-211, December.
  4. J.-J. Jonker & N. Piersma & D. Van Den Poel, 2003. "Joint Optimization of Customer Segmentation and Marketing Policy to Maximize Long-Term Profitability," Working Papers of Faculty of Economics and Business Administration, Ghent University, Belgium 03/214, Ghent University, Faculty of Economics and Business Administration.
  5. repec:feb:artefa:0105 is not listed on IDEAS
  6. De Cannière, Marie Hélène & De Pelsmacker, Patrick & Geuens, Maggie, 2009. "Relationship Quality and the Theory of Planned Behavior models of behavioral intentions and purchase behavior," Journal of Business Research, Elsevier, vol. 62(1), pages 82-92, January.
  7. Sargeant, Adrian & Ford, John B. & West, Douglas C., 2006. "Perceptual determinants of nonprofit giving behavior," Journal of Business Research, Elsevier, vol. 59(2), pages 155-165, February.
  8. Gabriel R. Bitran & Susana V. Mondschein, 1996. "Mailing Decisions in the Catalog Sales Industry," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 42(9), pages 1364-1381, September.
  9. Xinshu Zhao & John G. Lynch & Qimei Chen, 2010. "Reconsidering Baron and Kenny: Myths and Truths about Mediation Analysis," Journal of Consumer Research, University of Chicago Press, vol. 37(2), pages 197-206, 08.
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