The unexpected link between social status and generosity

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People with less are likely to give more.

“Lower status” individuals share their wealth more than their “higher status” counterparts, according to a study by Queen Mary University in London.

The researchers set up an economic game in which people were labeled as either “low status” or “high status” – in terms of social, economic and educational outcomes – and told them to contribute any amount of. money they wanted in a group pot that would later be divided by all the players. People of “lower status” have always contributed more to the pot.

Also see:Who is the middle class? Their income is less than you might think

In the social experiment, participants used two types of money: one part was money they had earned themselves, while others were money they had received by chance. The players used real money in the game.

Empathy made no difference in the amount people gave, unlike previous research on charitable giving.

Individuals of “higher status” were less likely to donate money that they had “earned” themselves, while for individuals of “lower status” it did not matter.

The researchers found that empathy made no difference in the amount participants gave, unlike previous research on charitable giving. In fact, “lower status” individuals may have thought it strategically wise to contribute more because they would increase their reputation among group members.

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“The status will influence how people perceive and later rate how cooperative they are,” said Magda Osman, lead author of the report.

And why was the “high status” group less reluctant to donate the money they had earned? The “high status” group wanted more control over the money they made, so they contributed less to the group’s prize pool, she said.

Also see:This is the real reason many Americans stay poor

Research reveals a wider tendency of the poor to be generally more generous. Although they are less likely to give to charities and other people, they give more of their income when they donate.

The “high status” group wanted more control over the money they earned, so they contributed less to charity.

People with low incomes tend to give between 4% and 5% of their income, compared to the rich, who give between 3% and 4%, author Arthur brooks wrote in “Who Really Cares: The Surprising Truth about Compassionate Conservatism”.

When it comes to the total amount of donations, wealthy Americans give more to charity. Itemized charitable deductions from donors earning $ 100,000 or more per year increased by 40% between 2005 and 2015, according to a study of income tax returns by the Institute for Policy Studies, a left-wing think tank.

In comparison, deductions for low-income donors have declined by 34% over the same period. In 2015, more than half of charitable donations came from households with an annual income of $ 100,000 or more, according to the Internal Revenue Service.

This could be because lower income and younger households, especially those with less education, are still recovering from the Great Recession.


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