To Give or Not to Give? Interactive Effects of Status and Legitimacy on Generosity
Author(s): Nicholas A. Hays, Steven L. Blader
Abstract: Although previous research has demonstrated that generosity can lead to status gains, the converse effect of status on generosity has received less attention. This is a significant gap because groups and society at large rely on the beneficence of all members, especially those holding high-status positions. More broadly, research on the psychology of status remains largely unexplored, which is striking in light of the attention given to other forms of social hierarchy, such as power. The current work focuses on the psychology of status and explores the interactive effects of status and legitimacy on generosity. In particular, we hypothesize that status will decrease generosity when the status hierarchy is perceived as legitimate because status can inflate views of one’s value to the group and sense of deservingness. In contrast, we hypothesize that status increases generosity when the status hierarchy is perceived as illegitimate, due to efforts to restore equity through one’s generosity. Our results support these hypotheses across 6 studies (a field study and 5 experiments) and empirically demonstrate that the effects of status and legitimacy on generosity can be attributed to concerns about equity in status allocation.
Publication Title: Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, Vol. 112(1)
Pub Year: 2017
Pages: 17 – 38
URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1037/pspi0000067
Keywords: status, hierarchy, legitimacy, equity, generosity

Related Publications
Related publication for Keyword(s): status, hierarchy, legitimacy, equity, generosity