Prosocial Behaviors and Economic Performance: Evidence from an Online Mental Healthcare Platform
Posted: 12 Dec 2019 Last revised: 10 Aug 2020
Date Written: November 25, 2019
With the growth of online mental healthcare platforms, health professionals have been providing online consultation services in their spare time. However, little is known about the behaviors of health professionals on these platforms and their impact on achieving healthcare professionals’ online career success. In this research, we study how the prosocial behaviors of mental healthcare service providers influence their social and economic returns. Based on signaling and commitment theory, this study uses a panel dataset from a Chinese online mental healthcare platform to examine how counselors’ prosocial behaviors influence their relationship returns and reputation returns, furthermore, how the relationship and reputation return transform to economic returns. Our findings show that participating in prosocial activities in the previous week is positively associated with counselors’ relationship and reputation returns in the current week. We further find that the relationship returns accumulated in the past week is positively associated with counselors’ economic returns in the current week. Contrary to previous literature posited that reputation level positively indicates economic returns, our results suggest that the reputation return accumulated in the past week does not positively predict the economic returns in the current week.
Keywords: prosocial behaviors, relationship return, reputation return, economic return, online mental healthcare platform
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