It seems the Robin Hood stereotype of the greedy wealthy is true, recent research has suggested that higher earners are less charitable.
Economists at the University of Southampton have found that those who receive higher bonuses are less likely to give to charity, in comparison to lower earners. Even if said bonuses are based purely on luck rather than performance.
It would be assumed that a stroke of good luck would inspire giving feelings as one has the ability to splash their cash on locks of celebrity hair or diamond encrusted mobiles, but no. Dr Mirco Tonin and Dr Michael Vlassopoulos have found that people instinctively associate such rewards with their own achievements. This view may give people the moral ground not to donate because they feel like their hard work has entitled them to more.
Psychologist Paul Piffs’ research echoes the same ideas. He states that the rich are more likely to prioritise their own personal gain over the interest and support of others. He even went so far as to categorise this as the ‘ass-hole theory’. Although, it was found that when exposed to sympathy evoking videos, like this , levels of giving between higher and lower earners evened out substantially. So maybe the rich do have hearts after all?
Other studies indicate that it may not be a case of not giving at all, it’s just giving differently. Higher earners are more likely to donate to institutions such as museums, universities and the arts. Lower earning individuals on the other hand, focus their charitable giving towards social justice and welfare causes.
We asked charitable giving experts RAG what they thought. Corrie Jones told us
Often people give to charity regardless of their personal wealth. We raised £5000 in one week during The BIG Give and had countless students who donated much more than £1 over the course of the week. With some people putting £5 and £10 notes in a bucket, when you might think that students wouldn’t be so likely to give money. I think also it’s worth noting that students give their time to charity by volunteering, as well as monetary donations.
It’s comforting to know that students aren’t the stingiest bunch, and that sometimes its not all about the money. Donating time can be just as valuable.
What are your views on this matter? Do you give to charity or is your loan/ wages just yours for the taking? Let us know in the comments.