Government Expenditures and Philanthropic Donations: Exploring Crowding-Out with Cross-Country Data

  • Arjen De Wit (Contributor)
  • Neumayr, M. (Contributor)
  • Pamala Wiepking (Contributor)
  • Femida Handy (Contributor)

Activity: Talk or presentationScience to science


A dominant hypothesis in the welfare state literature is that extensive government programs “crowd out” different forms of civic engagement. This paper examines the association between public funding and philanthropic donations, being the first cross-country study to correlate government expenditures with the level of individual private donations to different fields of social welfare. Using the new Individual International Philanthropy Database (IIPD), we explore the association between government expenditures and philanthropic donations to different social welfare sectors across 19 countries. The results of the descriptive and multilevel analyses support the hypothesis that in countries where government expenditures in health and social protection are higher, there are more donors in “expressive” sectors like environment, international aid and the arts. People in generous welfare states are more likely to donate, but they donate amounts that are similar to those made by donors in less generous welfare states. The results thus reject the crowding-out hypothesis and give a nuanced picture of the relationship between public funding and philanthropic giving across different fields of social welfare.
Period13 Jul 201714 Jul 2017
Event title8th International Conference of the European Research Network on Philanthropy (ERNOP)
Event typeUnknown
Degree of RecognitionInternational

Austrian Classification of Fields of Science and Technology (ÖFOS)

  • 509012 Social policy
  • 502023 NPO research