One factor in the World Happiness Score is generosity. I have trouble to understand, what this actually means and how it enters into the score.

These are my specific questions:

  1. Does "generosity" mean that the individuals feel or are generous themselves (which feels good)?

  2. Does it mean that the individuals experience generosity by their fellow citizens (which would affect happiness in a different way)?

  3. Does it mean that the individuals experience generosity by their government or employer or other superior party?

  4. Does it mean all of this together, giving a cumulated number of some kind?

  5. Why is generosity preferred to other similar factors like fairness or solidarity?


According to https://worldhappiness.report/ed/2019/changing-world-happiness/

Generosity is the residual of regressing the national average of GWP responses to the question “Have you donated money to a charity in the past month?” on GDP per capita.

  • 1
    Which sense does this question make in very poor countries resp. for very poor people? It can be asked sensibly only to somewhat wealthy people (who have enough to give something away). May 10 '19 at 12:08
  • Furthermore: In the Western world people donate money mainly around Christmas, so this question should be asked with respect to the past year. (And the answer should be interpreted with reservation: Does donating once a year at Christmas a rather small amount of money really reflect "generosity"?) May 10 '19 at 12:22
  • 1
    @Hans-PeterStricker I don't think it's correct to assume that only 'wealthy' people can be generous. It's possible to be generous with other things besides just money, for example time or property. For example, a (relatively) poor villager in Bangladesh might be generous by spending some time helping their neighbor rebuild their house after a hurricane, or sharing some food with them. Conversely, there are many very wealthy people who are not at all generous. I don't think generosity necessarily correlates with wealth.
    – Time4Tea
    May 10 '19 at 14:17
  • 2
    You are absolutely right, but the WHR question asks for an amount of money. May 10 '19 at 14:24
  • 1
    @Hans-PeterStricker: it's not the only measure of generosity conceivable. But it uses the widely available Gallup data (on which the WGI is also based, albeit the latter uses three mostly qualitative questions.) The WHS version tries to make it sensitive to how rich/poor the country is (hence regression to GDP per capita, which WGI doesn't do.)
    – Fizz
    May 10 '19 at 17:07

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