The Moderating Role of Karma in the Relationship Between Other-Gain vs. Self-Gain Appeal Frames and Charitable Giving

Date of Award


Document Type

Open Access Dissertation


Moore School of Business

First Advisor

Thomas Kramer


This dissertation examines the impact of strength of karmic beliefs, operating as a peculiar belief, on the relationship between appeals framed as other-gains vs. self-gains and charitable giving. Across seven studies, the present research shows that while there is positive relationship between karma and prosocial behavior, stronger karmic beliefs result in greater donation intentions only when appeals are framed as other-(vs. self-) gains. More specifically, this research shows that when charitable appeals are framed as other-gains, either by highlighting other-benefits, minimizing gender identity salience, not offering incentives or offering only other-incentives conditional upon donation, individuals with strong (vs. weak) beliefs in karma express greater donation intentions. This interactive effect of karma and appeal frame on charitable giving is driven by the potential donors’ focus with respect to their donation, which is influenced by the framing of appeals. Further, a boundary condition of donation type is identified, such that these effects occur for donations of time, but not for donations of money. Lastly, a boundary condition of perceived social distance of the charity’s recipients is identified, such that individuals with strong (vs. weak) karmic beliefs donate more when appeals are framed as other-gains only when the perceived recipients of the charity are at a far social distance. These findings provide implications for the prosocial behavior and peculiar beliefs literatures, in addition to managerial implications for charities.

This document is currently not available here.