Understanding how virtuous lenders encourage support for peer-to-peer platforms’ prosocial initiatives

Giovanni Pino, Marta Nieto-Garcia, Alessandro M. Peluso, Giampaolo Viglia, Raffaele Filieri

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Peer-to-peer (P2P) rental service platforms—i.e., platforms where owners of private possessions (e.g., houses) lend them to other people—often deliver appeals that encourage platform users to contribute to prosocial causes (e.g., through charitable donations). Although many users are skeptical about such appeals, this research argues that exposing users to “virtuous” lenders—i.e., lenders who convey ethicality and unselfishness through their profile descriptions—elicits positive reactions to the above-mentioned appeals. Three experimental studies demonstrate that this occurs because users’ perception of a lender’s virtuousness extends to the platform and facilitates a belief that it is genuinely committed to prosocial causes. This perception, in turn, enhances users’ willingness to engage in charitable giving. However, the beneficial effect of virtuous lenders vanishes when users exhibit high moral disengagement. P2P platforms are, therefore, advised to rely on virtuous lenders and strengthen users’ moral principles to increase the persuasiveness of their prosocial appeals.
Original languageEnglish
Article number114251
Number of pages16
JournalJournal of Business Research
Early online date7 Sept 2023
Publication statusPublished - 1 Nov 2023


  • Peer-to-peer platforms
  • Prosocial behavior
  • Donation efficacy
  • Charitable giving
  • Virtuous lenders

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