Determinants of willingness to help
Evidence from a survey experiment
Keywords:factorial survey approach, experiments, willingness to help, cost-reward model
We analysed determinants of willingness to help using a factorial survey approach (n=405 individuals, n=5937 vignettes). We tested the effect of situational characteristics and how characteristics of the bystander and the person in need influence willingness to help in hypothetical situations within the framework of a cost-reward model. We found that the situation itself has the strongest effect: willingness to help was strongest when the net gain of helping was positive, whereas it was weaker in situations when the cost of helping and cost of not receiving help were equal. These results provide support for the cost-reward model of helping and illustrate that the factorial survey approach could supplement or in some cases replace more widely used experimental methods (laboratory or field experiments).
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