European Research Network on Philanthropy

A philanthropy module for the European Social Survey


ERNOP strives to include philanthropy in the Altruism Module of the European Social Survey to obtain high-quality cross-national comparative data on altruistic motivation and behaviour.  While attention from academics and policy makers have increased in recent years, high-quality comparative data on altruism are not available. Specifically, we propose measures of altruistic values, attitudes toward the responsibility of government, and charitable organisations, helping behaviour, formal and informal volunteering, charitable giving of money and in-kind goods, and sending remittances. We expect considerable variance in altruistic motivation and behaviours between citizens both within and between European countries. We outline three different explanations of this variance: values, resources, and mobilization. Values include altruistic values (concern for other people’s well being), religious values (strength of religiosity), and political values (left-right political self-placement) and attitudes (responsibility of government, charities and nonprofit organisations for the provision of public goods). Resources are measured in the core module. Mobilization refers to opportunities and requests for altruistic behaviour. We present validated measures based on previous research. The data are useful for economists, sociologists, cross-cultural and social psychologists, and political scientists. The data enable progress in knowledge on determinants of altruism and informed policy making on government investment in public goods.