Does Being Wealthy Make You More Charitable?

Ashley Whillans: Since charity is a fundamentally community-focused activity for the good of society, the idea that wealth may be linked to the absence of community-mindedness might create a hurdle for charities that typically emphasize the social relevance of contributing to their various causes. My colleagues and I suspected that if we tailored messages to the goals and motivations that coincide with wealth, we might be able to encourage charitable giving among those with the greatest capacity to give. To test this question, we conducted three studies with over 1,000 Canadian and American adults. In these studies, we examined how the wording of the charitable appeals might influence giving among people with average and above average wealth.

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