If giving feels so good, why don't more people do it?

Author: Maureen C. Gilmer

Notre Dame professor finds that ungenerous Americans do not think of giving as a moral obligation

The most generous people don't have the biggest bank accounts. But they are rich in other ways.

This isn't a faith-based assessment. It's science, according to a University of Notre Dame professor.

Generous people are happier and healthier. They have a greater sense of purpose and emotional well-being. But are they happier because they give, or do they give because they're happier?

Both, says Christian Smith, co-author of "The Paradox of Generosity" with Hilary Davidson. He will speak Thursday at the Thomas H. Lake Lecture at the Indiana History Center.

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The Evolution of Altruism

Author: Harman, Oren

It’s one of my favorite Darwin quotes—"He who understands baboon would do more toward metaphysics than Locke"—scribbled furtively in a notebook between visits to the London Zoo in the summer of 1838. Twenty-one years would pass before On the Origin of Species would shock the world, but Darwin already knew: If man wanted to comprehend his mind, he’d need to train an unflustered gaze into the deep caverns of his animal past. Read More

Giving Makes Us Happy. So Why Do So Few Do It?

Author: Christian Smith and Hilary Davidson

America has a generosity problem. Despite our relative wealth and voluntarist spirit, the majority of us clutch tightly to our pocketbooks and schedules. According to our data collected with the Science of Generosity survey, only 3 percent of American adults give away 10 percent or more of their income. This number is calculated by dividing the amount respondents reported giving away by their reported total salary. Read More

If Giving Makes People Happy, Authors Ask, Why Not Give More?

Author: Avi Wolfman-Arent

For most of his life, Christian Smith didn’t donate much to charity. The sociologist at the University of Notre Dame knew he had the means to give and knew that he should. But there was a psychological hurdle standing in his way, what Mr. Smith calls a "comfortable guilt." Read More

Wisconsin Public Radio: The Paradox of Generosity

Author: Joy Cardin and Christian Smith

Empirical evidence suggests that being generous and sacrificing will ultimately bring us more rewards in return. Yet, most Americans don’t practice generosity, according to Joy Cardin’s guest this hour. William R. Kenan, Jr. Professor of Sociology, Christian Smith explains the “paradox of generosity” and what it means for ourselves and society. Listen Read More

Notre Dame Sociologists Explore Paradox of Generosity

Author: Christian Smith and Hilary Davidson

For most religious believers, it is an article of faith that it is more blessed to give than to receive. For at least two University of Notre Dame sociologists, it is an article of fact as well. In their recently published book, “The Paradox of Generosity: Giving We Receive, Grasping We Lose,” Christian Smith, Notre Dame’s William R. Kenan Jr. Professor of Sociology, and sociology doctoral candidate Hilary Davidson provide empirical evidence in support of the biblical admonition. Read More

Faith's Paradox: Lose Your Soul to Find It

Author: Richard Stearns

Here's one of the great paradoxes of the human race: People who have almost no material possessions -- the world's extreme poor -- can be among the wealthiest in life. Read More

Want to Be Happy? Stop Being So Cheap!

Author: Jordan Michael Smith and Christian Smith

Start giving your money and time away: New research shows you’ll be happier for it. Americans who describe themselves as “very happy” volunteer an average of 5.8 hours per month. Those who are “unhappy”? Just 0.6 hours. This is just one of the findings in The Paradox of Generosity, a new book by sociologists Christian Smith and Hilary Davidson Read More