Charitable behaviour and political ideology: evidence for the UK

Publication type

Research Paper

Series Number



Sheffield Economic Research Paper Series


Publication date

February 15, 2019


Using data from the most recent large scale UK household longitudinal survey (UKHLS), we explore the effects of political ideology on charitable behaviour, specifically monetary donations and time volunteered. The UKHLS contains detailed information on political preferences, in terms of: political affiliation; the strength of support for political parties; the level of interest in politics and the party an individual would vote for tomorrow. We employ a number of modelling frameworks including static and dynamic models and double hurdle models, which allow political influences to have differing effects across the decision to donate and the amount of money or time donated. The consistent finding across the different estimators is that being aligned to a stated political party is positively associated with donating time and money. In addition, we find that political liberalism has a larger effect on both types of philanthropic behaviour than political conservatism. The largest effects across specifications are generally for alignment with the Green Party. However, further analysis reveals that, during the period of the UK Coalition Government and after its collapse when the Conservative Party gained power, the effect of political affiliation to the Green Party on monetary donations is substantially reduced, whereas the opposite effect is found for the amount of time volunteered.







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