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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 5: The trustworthiness of other people and personal inclination: two distinct drivers of giving

Lorna Zischka


The drivers of giving were analysed using data from the Citizenship Survey of England and Wales. It was found, as expected, that motivations to give depended partly on trust-enhancing conditions within the wider social environment. However, it also revealed a propensity to give, compatible with an attitudinal component, which was able to stimulate giving even when the wider social environment was unfavourable and the giver’s trust consequently low. This finding suggests that individual giving behaviours are not entirely a by-product of trust-enhancing conditions, even though trust is usually expected to sustain prosocial inclination. The finding that individuals also have a limited but significant capacity for prosocial action that is independent of their trust in others suggests how it is possible for individuals to also be agents of change within their environment.

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