Does giving make us prosperous?
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Nonprofit economists have always assumed that income is a precursor to giving. In contrast, many philosophical and religious teachings have asserted that it is giving that leads to prosperity. This article seeks to test the non-economic hypothesis, using data from the 2000 Social Capital Community Benchmark Survey. It identifies strong evidence that money giving does, in fact, influence income. This is consistent with extant psychology research which clearly shows that volunteering leads to positive mental and physical health outcomes. The implication of these findings for researchers and managers is that the value of charity is not limited to those who receive the services that giving makes possible. On the contrary, charity unleashes substantial benefits to the givers themselves.
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