Access

You are not currently logged in.

Access your personal account or get JSTOR access through your library or other institution:

login

Log in to your personal account or through your institution.

Neural Responses to Taxation and Voluntary Giving Reveal Motives for Charitable Donations

William T. Harbaugh, Ulrich Mayr and Daniel R. Burghart
Science
New Series, Vol. 316, No. 5831 (Jun. 15, 2007), pp. 1622-1625
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/20036496
Page Count: 4
  • More info
  • Cite this Item
Neural Responses to Taxation and Voluntary Giving Reveal Motives for Charitable Donations
Preview not available

Abstract

Civil societies function because people pay taxes and make charitable contributions to provide public goods. One possible motive for charitable contributions, called "pure altruism," is satisfied by increases in the public good no matter the source or intent. Another possible motive, "warm glow," is only fulfilled by an individual's own voluntary donations. Consistent with pure altruism, we find that even mandatory, tax-like transfers to a charity elicit neural activity in areas linked to reward processing. Moreover, neural responses to the charity's financial gains predict voluntary giving. However, consistent with warm glow, neural activity further increases when people make transfers voluntarily. Both pure altruism and warm-glow motives appear to determine the hedonic consequences of financial transfers to the public good.

Page Thumbnails

  • Thumbnail: Page 
1622
    1622
  • Thumbnail: Page 
1623
    1623
  • Thumbnail: Page 
1624
    1624
  • Thumbnail: Page 
1625
    1625