Mission, Motivation, and the Active Decision to Work for a Social Cause
Nonprofit and Voluntary Sector Quarterly,
The mission of a job affects the type of worker attracted to an organization but may also provide incentives to an existing workforce. We conducted a natural field experiment with 246 short-term workers. We randomly allocated some of these workers to either a prosocial or a commercial job. Our data suggest that the mission of a job has a performance-enhancing motivational impact on particular individuals only, those with a prosocial attitude. However, the mission is very important if it has been actively selected. Those workers who have chosen to contribute to a social cause outperform the ones randomly assigned to the same job by about half a standard deviation. This effect seems to be a universal phenomenon that is not driven by information about the alternative job, the choice itself, or a particular subgroup.
Gift-Exchange in Society and the Social Integration of Refugees: Evidence from a Field, a Laboratory, and a Survey Experiment
Journal of Economic Behavior and Organization,
Refugee integration requires broad support from the host society, but only a minority is actively engaged. Given that most individuals reciprocate kind behavior, we examine the idea that the proportion of supporters will increase as a reciprocal response to refugees’ contributions to society through volunteering. Our nationwide survey experiment shows that citizens’ intentions to contribute time and money rise significantly when they learn about refugees’ pro-social activities. However, we find a substantial heterogeneity in the observed treatment effects. Individuals with a high reciprocal inclination show higher willingness to contribute time, while individuals with a lower reciprocal inclination are ready to contribute money after learning about the refugees' good deeds. Information regarding the possibility to establish a mutual support relationship with the refugees does not generally increase the willingness to contribute time or money beyond the information on refugees’ general contributions to the society. We complement this investigation with experiments in the lab and the field that confirm our findings for actual behavior.
24.06.2021 • 17/2021
Loneliness during the pandemic – social isolation increases the likelihood of selfish behaviour
Social distancing as a counter-measure to the COVID-19 pandemic has far-reaching social consequences which have so far hardly been discussed from an economic perspective. This is demonstrated in a study by the Halle Institute for Economic Research (IWH). “Experiencing social isolation resulted in the participants in our study making more selfish decisions,” says the author of the study, Sabrina Jeworrek, Assistant Professor at Otto von Guericke University Magdeburg and head of research group in the Department of Structural Change and Productivity at IWH.
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The maths behind gut decisions First carefully weigh up the costs and benefits and then make a rational...
Alone at Home: The Impact of Social Distancing on Norm-consistent Behavior
IWH Discussion Papers,
Around the globe, the COVID-19 pandemic has turned daily live upside down since social distancing is probably the most effective means of containing the virus until herd immunity is reached. Social norms have been shown to be an important determinant of social distancing behaviors. By conducting two experiments and using the priming method to manipulate social isolation recollections, we study whether social distancing has in turn affected norms of prosociality and norm compliance. The normative expectations of what behaviors others would approve or disapprove in our experimental setting did not change. Looking at actual behavior, however, we find that persistent social distancing indeed caused a decline in prosociality – even after the relaxation of social distancing rules and in times of optimism. At the same time, our results contain some good news since subjects seem still to care for norms and become more prosocial once again after we draw their attention to the empirical norm of how others have previously behaved in a similar situation.