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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 6: The impact of giving behaviours on a cohesive social environment

Lorna Zischka


This chapter affirms that an individual’s decision to ‘give’ has a significant impact on the social environment. The analysis is based on the British Household Panel Survey (data collected over time), which allows us to observe how ‘giving’ at the start of a period leads to changes in the way the social environment is rated over time. Causality is found to run both ways between giving and the social environment but sequentially, over time. Just as a cohesive social environment impacts an individual propensity to give in one time period, so that individual propensity to give goes on to influence the social environment ratings in the next time period.

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