Giving-by-proxy triggers subsequent charitable behavior

Samantha Kassirer*, Jillian J. Jordan, Maryam Kouchaki

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


How can we foster habits of charitable giving? Here, we investigate the potential power of giving-by-proxy experiences, drawing inspiration from a growing trend in marketing and corporate social responsibility contexts in which organizations make charitable donations on behalf of employees or consumers. We create laboratory models of giving-by-proxy in workplace (Studies 1a-3) and consumer (Study 4) contexts. We then investigate how giving-by-proxy experiences (with varying amounts of autonomy) influence subsequent charitable behavior. Across five preregistered studies (N = 3255), we provide evidence that (i) giving-by-proxy experiences (that mirror those that typically occur in both workplace and consumer contexts) trigger increases in subsequent charitable behavior, (ii) this process is mediated by participants taking “charitable credit” for their behavior, and (iii) manipulating the amount of autonomy involved in the giving-by-proxy experience does not moderate these effects. Results highlight potential societal impacts of giving-by-proxy policies and campaigns.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number104438
JournalJournal of Experimental Social Psychology
StatePublished - Mar 2023


  • Autonomy
  • Charitable credit
  • Charitable giving
  • Giving-by-proxy
  • Moral consistency

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Sociology and Political Science


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