The “Martyrdom Effect”: When the Prospect of Pain and Effort Increases Charitable Giving

Normative and lay theories of decision-making consider pain and effort to be deterrents. In contrast, we provide novel evidence that the prospect of pain and effort can promote charitable giving. Across a series of experiments, participants contributed more money to a prosocial cause when the contribution process was painful and effortful than when it was neutral or enjoyable. We demonstrate this “martyrdom effect” using both hypothetical scenarios and studies involving real money and pain, and show that it cannot be explained by a taste for painful-effortful donation activities, cognitive dissonance, social norms, or an attribute substitution heuristic process.



Citation:

Christopher Olivola and Eldar Shafir (2009) ,"The “Martyrdom Effect”: When the Prospect of Pain and Effort Increases Charitable Giving", in NA - Advances in Consumer Research Volume 36, eds. Ann L. McGill and Sharon Shavitt, Duluth, MN : Association for Consumer Research, Pages: 190-194.

Authors

Christopher Olivola, Princeton University, USA
Eldar Shafir, Princeton University, USA



Volume

NA - Advances in Consumer Research Volume 36 | 2009



Share Proceeding

Featured papers

See More

Featured

The Ritualistic Dimension of Microlending

Domen Bajde, University of Southern Denmark, Denmark
Pilar Silveira Rojas Gaviria, Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile

Read More

Featured

People Overpredict the Benefit of Using Expensive Items and Appearing Rich in Friend-Making

Xilin Li, University of Chicago, USA
Christopher Hsee, University of Chicago, USA

Read More

Featured

The Subjective Experience of Goal Failure: How Choosing the Lesser Evil Eradicates the Negative Consequences of Goal Failure

Kamila Sobol, Concordia University, Canada

Read More

Engage with Us

Becoming an Association for Consumer Research member is simple. Membership in ACR is relatively inexpensive, but brings significant benefits to its members.