Newswise — Associate Professor Leif Nelson at the University of California, Berkeley’s Haas School of Business has been awarded this year’s Robert B. Cialdini Award for excellence in a published field study by the Society for Personality and Social Psychology (SPSP).

“Shared Social Responsibility: A Field Experiment in Pay-What-You-Want Pricing and Charitable Giving” was published in Science magazine (July 2010, Vol. 329. no. 5989, pp. 325–327). The paper is co-authored with Ayelet Gneezy, assistant professor and Uri Gneezy, professor, both at the University of California, San Diego’s Rady School of Management, in collaboration with Amber Brown, research scientist, Disney Research.

Nelson is the Barbara and Gerson Bakar Faculty Fellow and a member of the Haas Marketing group. His research focuses on consumer preferences and choices. He shares the award with his colleagues. The SPSP says, “Each of the award recipients has made a unique and significant contribution to understanding the individual and social factors shaping people's personalities, interactions, and behaviors.”

The award-winning paper found that when customers are allowed to pay what they want for a purchase, knowing a portion of the payment will go to charity, they become rather generous.. Nelson says the concept of “shared social responsibility," a term coined by the study’s authors, may provide the sustainability component often lacking in current corporate social responsibility strategies.

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