Funded Phd Research

Jonathan Berman

Self-Interest Without Selfishness: Imposing a Self-Interested Option Maximizes Customer Happiness

Marketing Department; Faculty Adviser: Deborah Small

Retailers and other companies increasingly ask customers if they would like to donate to a specific cause when they make purchases, either by giving money beyond the payment for their order or by giving reward points to a charity. Through experiments in retail settings and in the lab, this research tests the hypothesis that imposing an option of self-interest on customers can increase their happiness compared to letting customers choose between rewarding themselves versus helping others.


Berman, Jonathan Z. and Deborah A. Small (2011), “Self-Interest Without Selfishness: The Hedonic Benefit of Imposed Self-Interest,” Psychological Science, 23(10), pp. 1193-1199.