Individualism, economic freedom, and charitable giving

Cai, Meina, Caskey, Greg, Cowen, Nick , Murtazashvili, Ilia, Murtazashvili, Jennifer and Salahodjaev, Raufhon (2022) Individualism, economic freedom, and charitable giving. Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, 200 . pp. 868-884. ISSN 0167-2681

Full content URL: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jebo.2022.06.037

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Individualism, economic freedom, and charitable giving
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Abstract

We investigate the role of individualistic social rules and norms in charitable giving. Individualism in market societies is often criticized as corrupting morality and discouraging charitable giving. We contest that view. We propose direct and indirect mechanisms through which individualism increases charity. In the direct channel, individualism encourages self-interested giving. In the indirect channel, individualism contributes to charity by reinforcing economic freedom. We use evidence from a large cross-section of countries and several measures of individualism to investigate both channels. Our empirical findings confirm each channel and support the insights of classical liberals, such as Adam Smith and David Hume, and more recent studies in the humanomics tradition, which recovers the argument that individualism has its virtues.

Keywords:philanthropy, culture, Individualism, classical liberalism, Political institutions (General), Economic Theory
Subjects:L Social studies > L100 Economics
L Social studies > L360 Socio-economics
L Social studies > L726 Cultural Geography
L Social studies > L150 Political Economics
L Social studies > L110 Applied Economics
Divisions:College of Social Science > School of Social & Political Sciences
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ID Code:50017
Deposited On:11 Jul 2022 10:27

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