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The Link Between Income, Income Inequality, and Prosocial Behavior Around the World

Macchia, L. ORCID: 0000-0001-9558-4747 & Whillans, A. V. (2021). The Link Between Income, Income Inequality, and Prosocial Behavior Around the World. Social Psychology, 52(6), pp. 375-386. doi: 10.1027/1864-9335/a000466

Abstract

The questions of whether high-income individuals are more prosocial than low-income individuals and whether income inequality moderates this effect have received extensive attention. We shed new light on this topic by analyzing a large-scale dataset with a representative sample of respondents from 133 countries ( N = 948,837). We conduct a multiverse analysis with 30 statistical models: 15 models predicting the likelihood of donating money to charity and 15 models predicting the likelihood of volunteering time to an organization. Across all model specifications, high-income individuals were more likely to donate their money and volunteer their time than low-income individuals. High-income individuals were more likely to engage in prosocial behavior under high (vs. low) income inequality. Avenues for future research and potential mechanisms are discussed.

Publication Type: Article
Additional Information: © 2021 Hogrefe Publishing. This version of the article may not completely replicate the final authoritative version published in Social Psychology at https://doi.org/10.1027/1864-9335/a000466. It is not the version of record and is therefore not suitable for citation. Please do not copy or cite without the permission of the author(s).
Publisher Keywords: income inequality, prosocial behavior, income, volunteering, donating
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HM Sociology
H Social Sciences > HN Social history and conditions. Social problems. Social reform
Departments: School of Arts & Social Sciences > Psychology
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