Bringing Politics Back in Charitable Giving: Evidence From Donations After China’s Sichuan Earthquake

Nonprofit and Voluntary Sector Quarterly, Ahead of Print. Do non-Westerners donate differently? Drawing on a unique survey after the 2008 Sichuan earthquake, this article reports some empirical findings about Chinese donation behavior. Our empirical analysis confirms the importance of various socioeconomic factors in charitable giving. What distinguishes the Chinese case from other societies is the role of politics. Political attitudes affect how people donate: Less trustful individuals and less dependent communities do not embrace state-centered charity enthusiastically. Our research expands the spatial coverage of the charity study that is dominated by experiences and practices from European and North American countries. To generate hypotheses about political attitudes, we develop a simple political model of charity. Placing politicians’ survival motivation at the center opens up new inquiries that are underexplored by current literature. It also inspires further research into comparative institutional designs of charity across national boundaries.

Nonprofit and Voluntary Sector Quarterly |  

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