Impact University: Behavioral Economics

Behavioral Economics

Having Less, Giving More: The influence of social class on prosocial behavior >

Piff, PK.; Kraus, MW.; Côté, S.; Cheng, BH.; & Keltner, D. (2010-11, Journal of Personality and Social Psychology): "Lower social class (or socioeconomic status) is associated with fewer resources, greater exposure to threat, and a reduced sense of personal control. Given these life circumstances, one might expect lower class individuals to engage in less prosocial behavior, prioritizing self-interest over the welfare of others. The authors hypothesized, by contrast, that lower class individuals orient to the welfare of others as a means to adapt to their more hostile environments and that this orientation gives rise to greater prosocial behavior."

Behavioral Economics

When Work Disappears >

Wilson, W.J. (Winter 1996-97 Political Science Quarterly): "For the first time in the twentieth century, most adults in many inner-city ghetto neighborhoods are not working a typical week. The disappearance of work has adversely affected not only individuals, families, and neighborhoods, but the social life of the city at large as well."

Behavioral Economics

Empathy Is Actually a Choice >

Cameron, D, Michael, I, William, C (2015.07.10, The New York Times): Studies have found that the empathy we feel for others is a limited resource. According to these studies, we can only empathize for so many people and we are also less likely to empathize for others if they are from a different race, nationality, or creed. This article disagrees with this view of empathy as a source of moral failure. Instead, the authors believe that empathy is only limited by our own perception of it.

Behavioral Economics

Why Do We Experience Awe? >

Piff, P, Keltner, D. (2015-05-22, The New York Times): This article explores the theory that awe can spark altruism. Piff and Keltner discuss results from their studies on the feeling of awe. Their results support the theory that people who experience more awe and see more beauty in the world around them are more likely to be generous and collaborative.

Behavioral Economics

Extreme Wealth Is Bad for Everyone—Especially the Wealthy >

Lewis, M. (2014-11-12, New Republic): The wealth gap in the United States is widening. In this article, Lewis discuses whether this increasing concentration of wealth is empowering the wealthy to affect political outcomes. Lewis then presents the more novel idea that those who are extremely wealthy experience changes in their brain chemistry. Lewis cites several studies which show that people who are extremely wealthy are less likely to be able to empathize with others and are not as happy as their poorer counterparts.

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