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  • Author or Editor: Judit Mokos x
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Are more generous altruists more likely to signal their altruism? According to the theory of costly signaling, altruists signal their altruism in order to enhance their reputations; this theory predicts that above-average altruists will be most likely to signal their altruism. However, previous empirical research has found that average altruists are more likely to signal their altruism than above- and below-average altruists, suggesting adherence to an egalitarian norm. Studies of real-life of altruism, reputation management, and signaling are rare. Here, we examined a sport charity database to look at the behavior of donors and fundraising runners. We observed that average donors are the most likely to publish both their names and the amount, whereas below-average donors are more likely to publish only their name (and hide the amount), and extremely generous donors are more likely to publish only the amount (and hide their name) than less generous donors. We also found that runners who targeted a higher sum or a longer distance garnered larger sums through larger individual donations. These results support egalitarian theories of signaling and show that humans actively manipulate the information about their altruistic act to maximize their reputation.

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