Giving to secular causes by the religious and nonreligious: An experimental test of the responsiveness of giving to subsidies

Catherine C. Eckel, Philip J. Grossman

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81 Citations (Scopus)


Although evidence indicates that religious persons are more generous on average than nonreligious persons, little work has been done to determine if this greater generosity is a general pattern or is, rather, specific to church-based institutions. Limited research addresses if, or how, religious and nonreligious givers respond to subsidies. This article uses experimental data to examine differences in the amount and pattern of giving to secular charities in response to subsidies by self-identified religious and nonreligious participants. The results indicate no significant difference in either the amount or pattern of giving or in the response to subsidies by religious and nonreligious participants; however, giving by religious participants is significantly more responsive to income changes than giving by nonreligious participants.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)271-289
Number of pages19
JournalNonprofit and Voluntary Sector Quarterly
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 2004


  • Charitable giving
  • Experiment
  • Religion
  • Subsidies

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