2016 Organisation and Management of Aid Other

The when and why of helping: individual and organizational decision making from a psychological perspective

Arvid Erlandsson

Within the fields of experimental psychology and behavioral economy helping decisions, i.e. decisions that potentially can benefit someone else than the decision maker, have mostly been investigated at the individual level (e.g. “should I make a one-time donation to this charitable organization or should I spend the money on myself), but helping decisions can also occur at the organizational level.

Decisions made by Swedish politicians regarding how much money to earmark for foreign aid (e.g. 0.8%, 1% or 1.2% of the BNI) or regarding how to allocate a fixed sum of money between different helping efforts (e.g. helping refugees abroad or helping refugees in Sweden) are examples of important helping decisions with large global consequences. In addition, decision makers at Sida or the Foreign ministry make decisions about which of the many suggested foreign governments, companies and organizations that will and will not receive aid.

In his dissertation, Arvid Erlandsson has studied factors that influence our helping behavior or helping motivation. This DDB is a summary of his research.