News Release

Prosocial behavior and happiness

Peer-Reviewed Publication

Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences

A study involving 591 people who made a choice between a lottery favoring a prosocial donation of 350 euros that was expected to save a human life and a lottery favoring a selfish payment of 100 euros finds that in the short term, a prosocial choice weakly predicted increased happiness; however, 1 month later, individuals who received the prosocial outcome reported lower happiness than those who received the payment, showing that prosociality may not ubiquitously increase happiness.


Article #19-14324: "Delayed negative effects of prosocial spending on happiness," by Armin Falk and Thomas Graeber.

MEDIA CONTACT: Armin Falk, Institute on Behavior and Inequality, Bonn, GERMANY; e-mail:

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