Acta Univ. Agric. Silvic. Mendelianae Brun. 2013, 61, 923-933

https://doi.org/10.11118/actaun201361040923
Published online 2013-07-13

Philanthropic behaviour and motives

Vladimír Hyánek, Marie Hladká

Department of Public Economics, Faculty od Economics and Administration, Masaryk University, Lipová 41a, 602 00 Brno, Czech Republic

Even though philanthropy tends to be considered a sociological theme rather than an economic one, it poses a number of questions that challenge economists as well. We chose to address the following: How can economists contribute to the theories related to philanthropy? We examine some terms that are used in public economics theory and use them to explore the issues of philanthropy like Samaritan’s Dilemma, the Prisoner’s Dilemma, and the Free-Rider Problem, which we consider to be interesting and inspiring (Stone, 2008). We have to find and identify the social values of donors and volunteers rather than their economic values, because economists are not fully able to explain empathy, altruism, and helpful behaviour using traditional economic principles (Rutherford, 2008).
The theoretical frame is supported by relevant empirical data. Before starting a large-scale survey, we decided to conduct smaller pre-research probes into people’s attitudes towards altruism, philanthropy, and giving. Even though our sample was not fully representative, the responses that we collected generated interesting findings about people’s views and attitudes. The first wave of data was collected between February and April 2009; the second wave between February and April 2010.
Because of this pilot research mission and because of the budget restriction too, the non-representative sample of 823 respondents has been used; students of our Public Economics study programme were used as interviewers. They have also obtained a proper training of the professional sociologist.
Students utilized the face to face interviewing method; non-standardized questions were immediately recorded into the reply form. Questions were divided into three groups with typical characteristics. The first one focuses on personal (individual) motives for financial donating (only financial gifts for non-profit organizations). Second part examines the attitudes of individual towards the non-profit sector and its transparency, while the third part analyses the profile of particular groups of donors, which are stratified according to selected characteristics as age, field of activity, income level, etc.
This paper deals with the second group of questions. Because of the limited representativeness of the sample, the data are not linked to other observed socio-demographic characteristics and indicators (although we have collected them).
Currently we are working on similar, but fundamentally extended and representative survey. In this paper presented preliminary research should serve basically as a reference for identifying dominant donor strategies, motives and attitudes.

References

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