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Altruism born of suffering? The impact of an adverse health shock on pro-social behaviour

Nicole Black, Elaine De Gruyter, Dennis Petrie () and Sarah Smith

Bristol Economics Discussion Papers from School of Economics, University of Bristol, UK

Abstract: ‘Altruism born of suffering’ (ABS) predicts that, following an adverse life event such as a health shock, individuals may become motivated to act pro-socially. However, this has not yet been examined systematically. Using data from the United States Panel Study of Income Dynamics, we find that a health shock does not lead to a general increase in pro-social behaviour. Instead, ABS is akin to a specific shock that affects giving to health charities, with an increase in the probability of giving and amounts donated to health charities coming at the expense of other non-religious charities.

Date: 2020-12-10
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-soc
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Journal Article: Altruism born of suffering? The impact of an adverse health shock on pro-social behaviour (2021) Downloads
Working Paper: Altruism born of suffering? The impact of an adverse health shock on pro-social behaviour (2020) Downloads
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