Journal of Consumer Research
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This research examines the effectiveness of public recognition in encouraging charitable giving, demonstrating that public recognition can sometimes decrease donations. While previous work has largely shown that making donations visible to others can motivate donors, the present research shows that the effectiveness of public recognition depends on whether potential donors are under an independent (i.e., separate from others) or interdependent (i.e., connected with others) self-construal. Across seven experimental studies, an independent self-construal decreases donation intentions and amounts when the donor will receive public recognition compared to when the donation will remain private. This effect is driven by the activation of an agentic motive, wherein independents are motivated to make decisions that are guided by their own goals and self-interests, rather than being influenced by the opinions and expectations of others. This research contributes to the understanding of the nuanced roles of both public recognition and self-construal in predicting donation behavior.