Those who are generous are also leftists: a scientific study explains it

Those who are generous are also leftists: a scientific study explains it

Those who are generous are also leftists

Generosity is leftist. It goes without saying, therefore, that those on the right are more selfish. To put it on paper, in what could sound like the confirmation of a prejudice, is a new scientific study published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (Pnas), according to which precisely the tendency to be altruistic in general and towards of the international community is more common among people who vote on the left, while those with right-wing ideologies are more inclined to be selfish, or rather to be altruistic only towards their own country.

The dynamics of the study

To understand if generosity is associated with political orientation and in what way, researchers from the IMT School of Advanced Studies Lucca, together with colleagues from the Ca' Foscari University of Venice and the University of Milan Bicocca carried out a survey involving over 46,000 people from 68 countries between April and May 2020. The survey, organized by the International Collaboration on the Social and Moral Psychology of Covid-19 (a project that aims to examine the psychological factors underlying pandemic-related attitudes), relied on questions to measure both political ideology and generosity. Indeed, participants were asked to identify their political orientation on a scale from 0 (far left) to 10 (far right). While for altruism, the researchers looked at the decisions participants made when faced with a choice: whether they had a little cash left, how much they decided to keep for themselves, and how much they decided to donate instead to a national or international charity. international that was responsible for protecting people from Covid-19.

The results

From here, therefore, three different types of generosity were examined: one oriented towards the country of origin (national generosity), one oriented beyond national borders and towards the international community (international generosity) and, finally, the third, the combination of the previous two, identified as generosity in general. "By analyzing the responses, we found that people on the left are more likely to give overall and also more likely to be generous internationally," explained Veronica Pizziol, first author of the study. “More people on the right are more likely to donate nationwide. These results are very consistent and have been checked to rule out other factors that may have influenced the responses." For example, she points out, since the poll was taken during the pandemic, right-wingers might have been less generous to charities just because they were less likely to believe the coronavirus was a threat. “But this was not the case”, comments Pizziol.

Not only that: the results show that the tendency to be generous with the national and international communities, both of the right and of the left, is somehow correlated to the quality of governance , measured by Worldwide Governance Indicators , a research program of the World Bank which takes into account factors such as the stability and effectiveness of government, the control of corruption, and freedom of thought. In particular, as Pizziol recounts, it emerged that in countries with a good quality of governance, people tend to increase self-interest (selfishness) and decrease national generosity. Instead, as far as international generosity is concerned, people who vote on the right and on the left adopt opposite behaviors: those on the right tend to donate less while those on the left tend to donate more. Results, then, seemingly counterintuitive given that people on the left may embrace universalistic or individualist values, both values ​​which place little emphasis on local boundaries. “On the other hand, people on the right may react negatively to universalist values, and therefore embrace only individualist values,” concludes Valerio Capraro, senior author of the paper. “And that is reflected in the fact that they only grow in their individualism.”

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