When Charity Begins at Home: How Personal Financial Scarcity Drives Preference for Donating Locally at the Expense of Global Concerns

Herzenstein, M. & Posavac, S.S. 2019. Journal of Economic Psychology

Research was conducted to understand what drives individuals’ decisions to make charitable donations to local charities versus international charities that serve targets in far-away places. Six experiments using real charities were conducted: in two experiments participants donated their own money and in the other four participants dictated the allocation of money donated by the authors. Results demonstrate that when individuals perceive that their personal financial resources are scarce, their charitable allocations are weighted more heavily towards local charities.