The Causes of Generosity: From Attachment to Cultural Solidarity

  • Patricia Snell Herzog
Part of the Palgrave Studies in Altruism, Morality, and Social Solidarity book series (PSAMSS)


This chapter focuses on what causes people to be generous, how people learn to give, and what factors support them in carrying out generous actions. Giving takes effort that can be inhibited by the busyness of everyday life. To be able to give, people require access to at least some economic, social, or psychological resources, and they must see those resources as available to give, worthy of giving, and plentiful enough to be given without great risk. This chapter also explains how cultural and political climates shape the exercise of generosity. The chapter begins with individual-level causes of generosity, including genetic causes and social psychological orientations. Next, the chapter reviews family and interpersonal causes, including children learning to give and the power of asking—first by unknown others and then by known. Group, community, and organizational causes are then summarized, including religious causes. The next section of the chapter covers institutional causes, including religious and government. In the last section of the chapter, societal and cultural causes are reviewed, including social capital and network causes. Together, these studies highlight the multiplicative causes of generosity.


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  • Patricia Snell Herzog
    • 1
  1. 1.IndianapolisUSA

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