Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Q2: Who is more charitable, liberals or conservatives?

A: Not close, conservatives.  With a hat tip from Dan Mitchell, I thought I'd follow-up on my similar, earlier question this morning comparing Americans to Europeans.  In this instance, the point was to highlight what I've known for years, but that most don't: the fact that as Mitchell says, "left-wingers are only generous with other people's money".  The source for this post is an article that journalist Jeff Jacoby wrote just about a year ago in which he discusses the findings of a 2012 study by the Chronicle of Philanthropy.  There is a lot of very educational material in his article, including this:
Liberals, popular stereotypes notwithstanding, are not more generous and compassionate than conservatives. To an outsider it might seem plausible that Americans whose political rhetoric emphasizes "fairness" and "social justice" would be more charitably inclined than those who stress economic liberty and individual autonomy. But reams of evidence contradict that presumption, as Syracuse University professor Arthur Brooks demonstrated in his landmark 2006 book, Who Really Cares .

However durable the myth, wrote Brooks (who now heads the American Enterprise Institute, a Washington think tank), there is no getting around the data. For years, academic research and comprehensive national studies have confirmed that Americans who lean to the left politically tend to be much less charitable than those who tilt rightward. The Chronicle of Philanthropy's new report is only the latest in a long series of studies corroborating that fact.