Are the rich so different from you and me? Yes, according to a recent study by Paul Piff and his colleagues at the University of California, Berkeley. The report, published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, suggested that the poor, not the rich, are “more inclined to charity”.
Through various experiments, the researchers found that upper-class participants said 2.1% of incomes should be donated. Lower-class folks felt that 5.6% was appropriate.
The study also found that “the rich are capable of compassion, if somebody reminds them” but they do not show it spontaneously. Do you think this is true? Does this explain why many folks do not give because they have never been asked? Studies have shown that if asked appropriately, prospects do become donors.
So, why do the poor give more? The researchers believe it:
… may be that the increased compassion which seems to exist among the poor increases generosity and helpfulness, and promotes a level of trust and co-operation that can prove essential for survival during hard times.