Psykologin bakom viljan att dela med sig - Studier om ekonomisk generositet

Tidsperiod: 2014-07-01 till 2017-06-30

Projektledare: Robin Bergh

Finansiär: Vetenskapsrådet

Bidragstyp: Projektbidrag

Budget: 3 150 000 SEK

As noted by the World Economic Forum, escalating inequality is a concern of all mankind. Still, mandatory distribution (e.g. via taxes) is associated with political disputes and conflicts. However, such conflicts could potentially be sidestepped if people were more willing on their own to share their assets. The aim of this project is to examine this important but largely overlooked question: Are there psychological mechanisms that increase people´s willingness to give up some of their assets for the benefit of others? Specifically, three psychological mechanisms are proposed to increase people´s economic prosociality (i.e. willingness to share one´s assets). These are reduced meritocratic beliefs (beliefs that people have earned what they have), cost-benefit considerations, and cognitive dissonance (a mental tension coming from contradictory thoughts and behaviors). In a series of experiments these factors are manipulated to assess their effect on economic prosociality. Economic prosociality is operationalized as distribution of money in a dictator´s game or as participation rewards given to charity. Importantly, the experimental effects of these factors are predicted to be moderated by individual difference variables (e.g. empathy). The proposed research partner at Harvard, Professor Jim Sidanius, is a world-leading expert on psychological processes related to inequality. As such he would provide important input to this project that would be hard to find in Sweden.