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Giving Behaviours and Social Cohesion

How People Who ‘Give’ Make Better Communities

Lorna Zischka

‘Giving’ time and money to the community indicates the existence of relationships that draw people together, and ‘who people give to’ indicates how inclusive these relational networks are. Using UK data for the analysis, Zischka argues that a person’s willingness to ‘give' is not only influenced by social cohesion; it also helps to generate social cohesion. For thriving communities, we therefore need to consider our ‘giving’ as well as our ‘getting’.
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Chapter 4: Evidence of links between prosocial motivation, giving behaviours and welfare

Lorna Zischka


Evidence for the links between ‘giving’ and ‘welfare’ is presented using British databases. Welfare indicators include personal life-satisfaction and income, but also some more communal indicators of welfare, which include trust in neighbours, local crime statistics and community deprivation. People who give (that is, people who are part of prosocial networks) are associated with more desirable outcomes both personally and within their community. Although income generation remains of importance (money pays for the things that improve life), giving behaviours are found to shed light on an aspect of welfare that monetary indicators do not necessarily capture. The chapter goes on to discuss which aspects of giving are most important to measure, and also how different giving behaviours can be aggregated onto a single scale.

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