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The Paradox of GenerosityGiving We Receive, Grasping We Lose$
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Christian Smith and Hilary Davidson

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780199394906

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2014

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199394906.001.0001

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Generous and Ungenerous America

Generous and Ungenerous America

(p.99) Chapter 3 Generous and Ungenerous America
The Paradox of Generosity

Beaster-Christian Smith

Hilary Davidson

Oxford University Press

The third chapter examines the extent of Americans’ generous practices. The examination of the relationship between generous practices and positive life well-being in the previous chapter now prompts the question: Just how generous are Americans as a people overall? The answer, it turns out, is mixed. Many Americans are indeed quite generous in various ways—and they are more likely to enjoy the happiness, health, and sense of purpose that their generosity tends to produce. But many other Americans, by their own admission, live fairly ungenerous lives. They do not, for example, engage in much or any voluntary financial giving to valued organizations and good causes, nor do they volunteer their time and labor to help others in need.

Keywords:   generous Americans, ungenerous Americans, quantitative surveys, volunteering, financial giving, blood donation, organ donation

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