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EMAC 2019 Annual Conference

You Deserve to Help Others: Promoting Prosocial Behavior Among Entitled People

Published: May 28, 2019


Martine van der Heide, University of Groningen; Bob Fennis, University of Groningen; Koert van Ittersum, University of Groningen


Entitlement; Prosociality; Donations


Psychological entitlement—a sense that one deserves more than others—is prevalent in today’s society and has been linked to reduced prosocial behavior. However, we propose that the negative social impact of entitlement is not as pervasive as previous research suggests; framing prosocial behavior as a selective opportunity (i.e., as an opportunity that is granted to a selection of consumers and denied to others) could significantly increase prosocial behavior among entitled people. Indeed, we demonstrate in two studies that emphasizing that the opportunity to donate is offered selectively (vs. offered to everybody) increases donations among entitled people, whereas it does not affect donations of those low in entitlement. Furthermore, we rule out self-esteem and order effects as alternative explanations. In sum, this research illustrates that a subtle change in the framing of prosocial opportunities can promote prosocial behavior during an apparent “age of entitlement”.