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The differential effect of narratives on prosocial behavior

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Hillenbrand,  Adrian
Max Planck Institute for Research on Collective Goods, Max Planck Society;

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Eugenio,  Verrina
Max Planck Institute for Research on Collective Goods, Max Planck Society;

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Citation

Hillenbrand, A., & Eugenio, V. (2018). The differential effect of narratives on prosocial behavior.


Cite as: http://hdl.handle.net/21.11116/0000-0002-AE91-6
Abstract
We study how positive narratives (stories in favor of a prosocial action) and negative narratives (stories in favor of a selfish action) influence prosocial behavior. Our main findings are that positive narratives increase giving of selfish types substantially, compared to a baseline with no narratives. Negative narratives, on the other hand, have a differential effect. Prosocial types decrease their giving, while selfish types give more than in the baseline. We discuss two potential explanations for this effect: one based on the enhanced saliency of normative behavior through narratives, and another based on a social comparison argument.