Social expectations for charitable giving in China

Lin NIE, Kwan Nok CHAN, Wai-Fung LAM

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlespeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)


The rapid rise of philanthropy in China has motivated extensive research on why people make charitable donations as a personal decision, but few studies have explored the social dimension of these decisions. We propose that the legacy of government welfare provision and the culture of trust have led Chinese citizens to form different expectations for others in philanthropic situations. Our survey results point to some interesting asymmetries: Generalized trust and institutional trust toward local governments inflate people’s expectation for philanthropic contributions from others, whereas particularized trust and trust toward the central government reduce it. Also, Chinese citizens expect government employees to make larger contributions, but they don’t expect charities with government backing to receive correspondingly larger donations. We conclude with some observations on how the unique pattern of social expectation may shape the future of Chinese philanthropy. Copyright © 2022 The Author(s).
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)817-837
JournalNonprofit and Voluntary Sector Quarterly
Issue number3
Early online dateJun 2022
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2023


Nie, L., Chan, K. N., & Lam, W.-F. (2023). Social expectations for charitable giving in China. Nonprofit and Voluntary Sector Quarterly, 52(3), 817-837. doi: 10.1177/08997640221100721


  • Philanthropy
  • Social expectation
  • Trust
  • Government ties
  • Charitable giving


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