Prosocial Spending and Subjective Well-Being: The Recipient Perspective

Abstract

Previous research has demonstrated that people are happier after spending money on others (prosocial spending) rather than spending on themselves (personal spending). This relationship between prosocial spending and well-being has been proved to be reliable across countries and ages. However, the happiness of recipients has been frequently ignored in past prosocial behavior studies, and only a few studies have explored the effect of givers’ voluntary intention on recipients’ well-being and responses. Considering that the purpose of prosocial spending is to benefit both spenders and recipients, this study attempts to investigate the relationships among gift attractiveness, positive perceived intention, willingness-to-accept (WTA) and subjective well-being (SWB) of recipients in prosocial spending. The results of a large scale survey demonstrate that both gift attractiveness and positive perceived intention are positively related to recipients’ willingness-to-accept. And willingness-to-accept is positively associated with recipients’ SWB. More importantly, willingness-to-accept mediates both the relationship between gift attractiveness and SWB, and the relationship between positive perceived intention and SWB. Some implications for theory and practice are discussed.

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Correspondence to Mingliang Chen.

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Zhang, W., Chen, M., Xie, Y. et al. Prosocial Spending and Subjective Well-Being: The Recipient Perspective. J Happiness Stud 19, 2267–2281 (2018). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10902-017-9918-2

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Keywords

  • Prosocial spending
  • Recipients
  • Subjective well-being
  • Gift attractiveness
  • Positive perceived intention
  • Willingness-to-accept