Personal and Social Orientations to Giving. A SOCIAL PSYCHOLOGICAL APPROACH

up to this point we have painted a picture of how much Americans participate in different forms of generosity (chapter 1), who gives from different social statuses and regional locations (chapter 2), and how Americans approach their giving (chapter 3). In this chapter we ask: Why do people give? What orients them to give at all? We have established that they need to have resources to give away, that their socioeconomic status and regional location make them more or less likely to give, and that the approach they take to their giving affects whether and how much they give. But why is one person more likely to give than another?

In this chapter we begin to answer that question through the lens of social psychology theories. We will describe the survey questions we use to measure how personal and social orientations relate to giving and explore how seeing oneself as a generous person relates to giving behaviors. Our case studies will illustrate how these factors play out in real life.

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