About this project

Update: 10 Years After

It is time for an update to the literature review on philanthropy. In the 10 years that have passed since the first publication of the project, the number of studies on philanthropy has continued to increase. Meanwhile we have learned a lot about systematic reviews and meta-analyses. In addition, the Open Science Revolution has changed the landscape of the social sciences. We invite you to participate in an open collaboration: Revolutionizing Philanthropy Research. Visit the OSF page of the project to learn more and join us!


In 2006, Rene Bekkers and Pamala Wiepking started the project “Understanding Philanthropy” with the objective to review as many empirical journal articles studying charitable giving as they could find. This resulted in an extensive literature review, covering over 500 journal articles from many scientific disciplines, including economics, sociology, psychology, marketing, law and philanthropic studies. The literature review was a background study for the Science of Generosity Request for Proposals, funded by the John Templeton Foundation. On this website we share the results of the literature review.

Rene Bekkers is Professor of Philanthropy at the Center for Philanthropic Studies at the Department of Sociology at Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam. His current research takes a multidisciplinary approach to examine determinants and consequences of giving and volunteering, combining experiments and survey methodology. You can find more information about Rene Bekkers at his website.

Pamala Wiepking is Professor Societal Significance of Charity Lotteries at the Center for Philanthropic Studies at the Department of Sociology at Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam and the Visiting Stead Family Chair of Global Philanthropy at the Lilly Family School of Philanthropy at Indiana University / Purdue University Indianapolis. Her main research interests include interdisciplinary explanations for international differences in pro-social behaviour. You can find more information about Pamala’s research at her website.


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