The Reparation Effect: Indulgent Consumption Increases Donation Behavior

Promothesh Chatterjee, University of South Carolina, USA
Arul Mishra, University of Utah, USA
Himanshu Mishra, University of Utah, USA
The biggest challenge faced by non-profit organizations is encouraging donors to donate. Thus, the question of when and where to target an altruistic appeal is of tremendous practical importance. This research finds that people donate more money to charity just after they have consumed an indulgent food (e.g. ice-cream or chocolates) compared to when they have consumed a non-indulgent food (sandwiches). We call the phenomenon the “reparation effect”, in which prior consumption of an indulgent option produces guilt, and as reparation for the act of consumption, people engage in charitable activities to alleviate their guilt. Across two field studies and one behavioral experiment, the reparation effect is demonstrated and the underlying psychological mechanism is explained.
[ to cite ]:
Promothesh Chatterjee, Arul Mishra, and Himanshu Mishra (2010) ,"The Reparation Effect: Indulgent Consumption Increases Donation Behavior", in NA - Advances in Consumer Research Volume 37, eds. Margaret C. Campbell, Jeff Inman, and Rik Pieters, Duluth, MN : Association for Consumer Research, Pages: 527-528 .