Having less but giving more : work experience and prosocial behavior of Chinese working-class youth

Bryant P.H. HUI, Ngai PUN*, Jack Linchuan QIU, Anita KOO

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Journal PublicationsJournal Article (refereed)peer-review

13 Citations (Scopus)


Adolescent behavior is often negatively viewed especially regarding work experience. By introducing a concept of prosocial behavior, our study attempts to provide an alternative view on the effects of teenage job and work experience. We hypothesized that work experience could generate more prosocial behaviors. By surveying a large group of working-class youth (N = 2,860) from eight Chinese vocational schools and using structural equation modeling, we confirmed that the pattern of “having less, giving more” could be found in our sample. Our findings revealed that work experience could facilitate prosocial behavior via the increase of knowledge of both contract-based rights and labor action. By understanding working-class youth’s prosocial behavior as a positive outcome of work experience, this study calls for further research on other positive outcomes, such as cooperation, civic engagement, and solidarity, among working-class youth.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1582-1601
Number of pages20
JournalYouth and Society
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - 1 Nov 2020
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

This research was supported by the CRF, Research Grants Council of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region, China (C5010-15G).


  • part-time job
  • prosocial behavior
  • SES
  • work experience
  • youth


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