Giving in Scandinavia

Johan Vamstad, Karl Henrik Sivesind, Thomas P. Boje

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This chapter explores the topic of giving to civil society organizations in Scandinavia. Giving is a type of contribution to civil society that differs markedly from other civil society activities, for example, volunteering. Scandinavians have an ambiguous relationship to giving as it is both a commendable civil act like volunteering, but unlike volunteering, also a reminder of unwanted economic inequality. This ambiguity, however, does not prevent Scandinavians from giving; people in Denmark, Norway and Sweden are among the most frequent donors in the world. Results presented in this chapter show that giving is mainly directed to causes like international aid, medical research and – perhaps more surprisingly for these largely secular welfare states – religious and social institutions. Comparisons between the three countries show some similarities in size and frequency of donations as well as attitudes towards giving. They also reveal some interesting differences in the effect that variables like income and gender have on giving and in the relation between giving and other types of civil society activities between the Scandinavian countries. The similarities and differences are explained using social origins theory.
Translated title of the contributionDonationer i Skandinavien
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationCivic Engagement in Scandinavia : Volunteering, Informal Help, and Giving in Denmark, Norway and Sweden
EditorsLars Skov Henriksen, Kristin Strømsnes, Lars Svedberg
Number of pages22
Place of PublicationCham
Publication date15 Jan 2019
Pages113- 134
ISBN (Print)978-3-319-98716-3
ISBN (Electronic)978-3-319-98717-0
Publication statusPublished - 15 Jan 2019
SeriesNonprofit and Civil Society Studies


  • Civil Society
  • nonprofit organisation
  • giving
  • charity
  • Volunteering

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