Munich Personal RePEc Archive

Relative Deprivation and Prosocial Behavior: Evidence from South Korea

Pak, Tae-Young and Babiarz, Patryk (2022): Relative Deprivation and Prosocial Behavior: Evidence from South Korea. Forthcoming in: The Social Science Journal

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Previous research suggests that the emotional consequences of unfavorable social comparisons determine individual attitudes and behaviors. However, few studies assessed the effect of relative deprivation on prosocial behaviors, and any evidence in the Asian context is particularly scarce. In this study, we examined the association between relative deprivation and prosociality among Korean adults. We used two complementary approaches involving experimental manipulation of relative deprivation via an online survey (Study 1) and an econometric analysis of longitudinal data (Study 2). Study 1 showed that exposure to the relative deprivation condition reduced participants’ willingness to donate, volunteer, and accept unwanted public facilities. Study 2 showed that relative disadvantage within the reference group was negatively related to the extensive and intensive margins of donating or volunteering. We conclude that relative disadvantage constitutes a major determinant of prosocial intention and behaviors among Korean adults.

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