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Thursday, November 15, 2018

Strategic CSR - Philanthropy

In light of the recent mid-term elections in the US, the article in the url below looks at the intersection between philanthropy and political ideology. It seems that, as with almost everything else, the population is divided on this:
"Red counties, which are overwhelmingly Republican, tend to report higher charitable contributions than Democratic-dominated blue counties, according to a new study on giving, although giving in blue counties is often bolstered by a combination of charitable donations and higher taxes. But as red or blue counties become more politically competitive, charitable giving tends to fall."
It seems that homogeneity makes us feel more secure (and, therefore, more likely to donate), while heterogeneity makes us feel less secure (and, therefore, more selfish), according to the researchers:
"'There's something about the like-mindedness where perhaps the comfort level rises,' said one of the authors of the study. …  'They feel safe redistributing their wealth voluntarily. It also matters for compulsory giving.'"
As such:
"The research raises questions about how living in a more diverse political community affects people's generosity."
One thing that appears missing from the research (but would inform the focus and findings) is the destination of the donations. If the authors' theory is true, you might also expect that homogenous states donate more nationally (i.e., more altruistic), but diverse states donate to local causes (i.e., more selfish):
"A Republican county like Madison County, Idaho, for example, is one of the most charitable in the nation, but the data does not show whether those dollars are going to local causes or to organizations out of the county or the state."
Overall, the research draws five conclusions that the article explores in greater detail:
  • "Republican-leaning counties are more charitable."

  • "Republicans give less in Democratic-leaning counties."

  • "Wealth redistribution is higher in Democratic-leaning counties."

  • "Charitable giving does not match government aid."

  • "Political competition decreases giving."

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How Political Ideology Influences Philanthropy
By Paul Sullivan
November 5, 2018
The New York Times
Late Edition – Final