When People Low in Social Class Become A Persuasive Source of Communication: Social Class of Other Donors and Charitable Donations
Moon-Kyung Cha, Youjae Yi, Jaehoon Lee
Journal of Business Research
Much of the research on social class suggests that people in the lower (vs. higher) social class increase their portion of charitable giving for others in need. However, little is known about whether observing lower-class people performing charitable giving affects observers’ charitable decision-making. Across five studies, consumers are more willing to donate to charitable campaigns when they are informed that other donors come from lower class backgrounds than from higher class backgrounds. One underlying process for the effect is that lower-class donors serve as an effective source of self-reflection, which in turn increases consumers’ willingness to donate. Further, the effect of lower-class donors on charitable giving is manifested strongly when economic inequality in a society is perceived to be high (vs. low). These findings shed light on the positive influence of lower-class donors on consumers’ charitable decision-making.