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Ongoing project

Philanthropy in an egalitarian society: the Norwegian population's monetary donations from an inequality perspective

Project period 2020 - 2020
Project leader Karl Henrik Sivesind

Project Background

Philanthropy as a form of idealistic engagement has not been very prevalent in Norway. However, over the last few decades, people's attitudes toward monetary donations have changed. There are more people who give money, more money is given, and people also feel a greater moral obligation than before. With that, it has also become an important source of income for many voluntary organisations.

The state has also introduced tax deductions for donations to volunteer organisations, but it is uncertain whether this will lead to more donors. Few give donations that are close to the maximum amount for deductions, and donations can also be withdrawn.

At the same time, there are differences in who gives and for what purposes it is given. Many give small amounts and a very small number give very large amounts. Income, education, marital status and social trust are important factors in explaining differences in monetary donations in the population.

Project Aim

The changes in the public's donations to voluntary and non-profit organisations, and the differences in who gives and the amounts donated, raise important questions about the importance of philanthropy in Norwegian society. This project responds to a need for more knowledge in this area.

Research question

  • What changes do we see over time in the Norwegian population in who gives donations, how much they give and for what purpose it is given?
  • To what extent do household monetary donations vary by income, occupation, education and other socio-economic characteristics?
  • What are the effects of the tax deduction for donations to volunteer organisations on household monetary donations and their income?

Project Approach

The analyses in the project will be based on data from Statistics Norway's Income and Property Statistics for Households and tax statistics for persons.

The data firstly provides an opportunity to map the Norwegian population's monetary donations through analyses of aggregated figures for the proportion of donors and average donation amounts, as well as total monetary donations to various organisations. Furthermore, by linking individual and household data to income, occupational and educational statistics, it is possible to analyse the patterns of monetary donations along key socio-economic and class-based measures of inequality. Finally, data over time also gives rise to a longitudinal analysis of the effects of tax deductions on the population's monetary donations.

The analyses could also be complemented by data on monetary donations from the voluntary efforts surveys of 1998, 2009, 2014 and 2017.


Daniel Arnesen PhD Research Fellow +47 415 57 586 Send e-mail
Karl Henrik Sivesind Dr. polit. Research Professor +47 997 06 127 Send e-mail
Tags: Civil Society
Published June 23, 2020 10:48 AM - Last modified June 30, 2020 12:06 PM