People sometimes avoid information about the impact of their actions as an excuse to be selfish. Such “willful ignorance” reduces altruistic behavior and has detrimental effects in many consumer and organizational contexts. We report the first meta-analysis on willful ignorance, testing the robustness of its impact on altruistic behavior and examining its underlying motives. We analyze 33,603 decisions made by 6,531 participants in 56 different treatment effects, all employing variations of an experimental paradigm assessing willful ignorance. Meta-analytic results reveal that 40% of participants avoid easily obtainable information about the consequences of their actions on others, leading to a 15.6-percentage-point decrease in altruistic behavior compared to when information is provided. We discuss the motives behind willful ignorance and provide evidence consistent with excuse-seeking behaviors to maintain a positive self-image. We investigated the moderators of willful ignorance and address the theoretical, methodological, and practical implications of our findings on who engages in willful ignorance, as well as when and why.