Warmly glowing students

The easily amused members of the academic community have rather enthusiastically embraced the use of the acronym WEIRD (used to describe people from Western, Educated, Industrialized, Rich and Democratic societies) as is evident in the title of this paper: “Warm glow in charitable auctions: Are the WEIRDos driving the results?”. Hilarious. It’s just shame no one has yet thought of any tenuously linked words beginning with ‘o’ and ‘s’; it could have been so perfect.

The study investigated how the warm glow of donating money affected the behaviour of people in two groups: students at an Athens university and a random sample of consumers from Athens. One of the reasons why this could be particularly important is that many experimental studies to date are based on student samples, and so the results of these studies need to be interpreted with caution. In some cases, it may be that these studies don’t provide an accurate or complete description of how most people behave.

In this case it looks like there might be good reason to be cautious. In this study, students appeared to enjoy a warm glow from charitable giving, whereas the random sample of consumers did not.

Of course, as the study points out, these results may not apply universally to student and consumer populations across other countries. Maybe the population of Athens is a bit WEIRD too…

The paper is here: http://mpra.ub.uni-muenchen.de/25553/1/MPRA_paper_25553.pdf

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