A perfectly natural response to the idea that one ought to donate a percentage of one’s income to fight poverty and hopelessness in the developing world is: how will this affect me? Won’t it make my life much worse?
Luckily, there is a body of psychological research that can help us to answer this question. This page summarizes this psychological research, in relation to how giving 10% will affect your happiness.
The conclusions, in brief, are:
- We are likely to overestimate the negative consequences of donating a percentage of one’s income.
- Income doesn’t have as strong an effect on happiness as you think.
- There is evidence which suggests that giving might overall improve your happiness
You can learn more about these issues by viewing the following TED presentation, in which Michael Norton of Harvard Business School discusses surveys and experiments which suggest that spending money on others makes people happier than spending it on themselves.