Prosocial Spending and Well-Being: Cross-Cultural Evidence for a Psychological Universal
Lara B. Aknin,
Elizabeth W. Dunn,
Claire E. Ashton-James and
Michael I. Norton
No 16415, NBER Working Papers from National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc
This research provides the first support for a possible psychological universal: human beings around the world derive emotional benefits from using their financial resources to help others (prosocial spending). Analyzing survey data from 136 countries, we show that prosocial spending is consistently associated with greater happiness. To test for causality, we conduct experiments within two very different countries (Canada and Uganda) and show that spending money on others has a consistent, causal impact on happiness. In contrast to traditional economic thought--which places self-interest as the guiding principle of human motivation--our findings suggest that the reward experienced from helping others may be deeply ingrained in human nature, emerging in diverse cultural and economic contexts.
JEL-codes: D60 D64 H3 I38 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Note: PE POL
References: View references in EconPapers View complete reference list from CitEc
Citations View citations in EconPapers (21) Track citations by RSS feed
Downloads: (external link)
This item may be available elsewhere in EconPapers: Search for items with the same title.
Export reference: BibTeX
RIS (EndNote, ProCite, RefMan)
Persistent link: https://EconPapers.repec.org/RePEc:nbr:nberwo:16415
Ordering information: This working paper can be ordered from
Access Statistics for this paper
More papers in NBER Working Papers from National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc National Bureau of Economic Research, 1050 Massachusetts Avenue Cambridge, MA 02138, U.S.A.. Contact information at EDIRC.
Bibliographic data for series maintained by ().