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The Paradox of Helping: Endorsing for Others What We Oppose for Ourselves

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A homeless person approaches you during the lunch hour, appealing for a few dollars to buy lunch. You are moved to help, but you have a choice—you could either give the person a portion of your own sandwich to eat, or give them cash. Which would you prefer?

Now, consider a second scenario. Your friend approaches you at lunch, also appealing for a few dollars. Would you give to your friend part of your sandwich or the money?

Does being wealthy make you more charitable?

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By Ashley Whillans

Each year, the average American family donates approximately 3.4 percent of its discretionary income to charity. Most of these charitable contributions are made from October to December, known as the “giving season” in the nonprofit sector.

So what inspires individuals to donate to charity?