ISSN 1671-3710
CN 11-4766/R

Advances in Psychological Science ›› 2021, Vol. 29 ›› Issue (7): 1279-1290.doi: 10.3724/SP.J.1042.2021.01279

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The effects of prosocial spending on subjective well-being and its mechanism

CUI Xinyue1, LI Bin1,2, HE Ruwan1, ZHANG Shuying1, LEI Li1   

  1. 1Management School, Jinan University, Guangzhou 510632, China;
    2The Institute of Enterprise Development, Jinan University; Guangzhou 510632, China
  • Received:2020-08-11 Online:2021-07-15 Published:2021-05-24

Abstract: Prosocial spending refers to spending money on others in the form of gifts or charitable donations. Prosocial spending not only benefits the recipient but also exerts a positive effect on the giver's subjective well-being. This effect depends on the type of recipient (individual vs. organization or society at large), and the universality and the persistence of the effect have been extensively investigated. Both internal and external factors have been shown to contribute to the boundary conditions facilitating the effect. Several theories, such as self-determination theory, social norm theory, evolution theory and social exchange theory, could be used to elucidate the mechanism underlying the effect of prosocial spending on subjective well-being. Future studies should focus on examining the boundary conditions of the effect, exploring the long-term positive effects of prosocial spending, and improving the ecological validity of research on prosocial spending.

Key words: prosocial spending, subjective well-being, self-determination theory, social norm theory, evolutionary theory

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