Solidarity

Making donations to charities, doing voluntary work or helping strangers are all examples of showing compassion to others, contribute to the functioning of society and/or supporting the disadvantaged. Income levels can to some extent explain observed differences between countries, but different traditions regarding the supportive role of the state, the community and the family are also important.

Data and measurement

Data on “solidarity” are drawn from the Gallup World Poll. The Gallup World Poll is conducted in more than 150 countries around the world based on a common questionnaire, translated into the predominant languages of each country. With few exceptions, all samples are probability based and nationally representative of the resident population aged 15 years and over in the entire country, including rural areas. While this ensures a high degree of comparability across countries, results may be affected by sampling and non-sampling error, and variation in response rates. Hence, results should be interpreted with care. These probability surveys are valid within a statistical margin of error, also called a 95% confidence interval. This means that if the survey is conducted 100 times using the exact same procedures, the margin of error would include the “true value” in 95 out of 100 surveys. Sample sizes vary across countries from 1 000 to 4 000, and as the surveys use a clustered sample design the margin of error varies by question. The margin of error declines with increasing sample size: with a sample size of 1 000, the margin of error at a 95% confidence interval is 0.98/picture or 3%; with a sample size of 4 000, this is 1.5%. To minimise the effect of annual fluctuations in responses related to small sample sizes, results are averaged over a three-year period, or two-year period in case of missing data. If only one observation in a three-year period is available this finding is not reported.

The data underlying the solidarity indicators are based on binary questions created by Gallup: “Have you done any of the following in the past month? How about donating money to a charity? How about helped a stranger or someone you didn’t know who needed help? How about volunteering your time to an organisation?” There are no questions about the amount of money donated of number of hours volunteered.

On average, people living in OECD countries are slightly more likely to make donations to charities than people across the Asia/Pacific region (Figure 5.13). However, while the incidence of donating to charities increased slightly across the Asia/Pacific region it declined somewhat across the OECD. (Figure 5.13). Among OECD countries people in Australia and New Zealand are twice as likely to donate to charity as people in Japan and Korea. People in Indonesia and Thailand are also more likely to make donations to charity than elsewhere across the Asia/Pacific region, and the likelihood that Indonesians, Kazakhs and Kyrgyzs give to charity has increased in recent years.

Alternative ways of showing solidarity can be through helping a stranger or offering time to an organisation or charity. In recent years, the share of people who helped a stranger increased marginally on average across the Asia/Pacific region and OECD countries (Figure 5.14). Pakistan and Singapore had the largest increase in altruistic behaviour towards strangers over the past decade, while Australians and New Zealanders appear to be the most likely to help a stranger in need.

The share of people who volunteered time is pretty stable in the OECD and Asia/Pacific region (Figure 5.15). On average, one in four people volunteered time to an organisation. Across 2015-17. Indonesia had the highest number of volunteers, showing a large increase since 2006-08. By contrast, less than 10% of the population in Armenia, Cambodia and China made time available for charitable work.

Figure 5.13. The propensity to give to charity varies widely across Asia/Pacific countries
Share of people who have donated money to a charity in the last month (%)
picture

Percentage point change between 2006-08 and 2015-17 is not available for Bangladesh and Pakistan.

Gallup World Poll, www.gallup.com.

 StatLink http://dx.doi.org/10.1787/888933900496

Figure 5.14. The share of people who helped a stranger increased slightly in the Asia/Pacific
Share of people who helped a stranger or someone they didn’t know who needed help in the past month (%)
picture

Gallup World Poll, www.gallup.com.

 StatLink http://dx.doi.org/10.1787/888933900515

Figure 5.15. On average, one in four people volunteers time to an organisation across OECD and Asia/Pacific
Share of people who volunteered time to an organization in the past month (%)
picture

Gallup World Poll, www.gallup.com.

 StatLink http://dx.doi.org/10.1787/888933900534

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