And who is your neighbor? Explaining the effect of religion oncharitable giving and volunteering

René Bekkers, Theo Schuyt

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Abstract

We study differences in contributions of time and money to churches and non-religious nonprofit organizations between members of different religious denominations in the Netherlands. We hypothesize that contributions to religious organizations are based on involvement in the religious community, while contributions to non-religious organizations are more likely to be rooted in prosocial values such as altruism, equality, and responsibility for the common good, which are socialized in religious traditions. Data from the first wave of the Giving in the Netherlands Panel Survey (n=1,964) support the hypotheses. We find higher levels of volunteerism and generosity among members of Protestant churches than among Catholics and the non-religious. Higher contributions to church among members of Protestant churches are mostly due to higher levels of church attendance and social pressure to contribute. In contrast, higher contributions to non-religious organizations by members of Protestant churches, especially charitable donations, are mostly due to prosocial values.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)74
Number of pages1
JournalReview of Religious Research
Volume50
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2008

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