National Culture of Indulgence as Predictor of Prosocial Behavior: Governmental Effectiveness as Boundary Condition

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Previous studies of national culture and prosocial behaviors have been limited to Hofstede’s five traditional culture dimensions. We introduce the fairly new and less studied cultural dimension of indulgence versus restraint (IVR) as a predictor of prosocial behaviors. We tested the effect of IVR on prosocial behavior over Hofstede’s previously studied dimensions. We also tested the moderating effect of government effectiveness on the relationship between indulgence and prosocial behavior. We crossed data for cultural dimensions from Hofstede with data from the world-giving index for prosocial behavior and data for government effectiveness from the World Bank. In total, eighty-seven countries entered our model. Indulgence predicted volunteering above the other researched cultural dimensions. It did not predict helping a stranger or donating. Among the cultural dimensions, only uncertainty avoidance was also significant in the prediction of volunteering. Uncertainty avoidance was the only cultural dimension that predicted donating. Individualism was not significant in the prediction of prosocial behaviors. Long-term orientation was the only cultural dimension that predicted helping a stranger (but not volunteering and donating) over other researched cultural dimensions. We found that government effectiveness is a boundary condition to the link between indulgent cultures and two prosocial behaviors (donating and helping a stranger but not for volunteering). Our results indicate that only in countries with high government effectiveness does indulgence predict prosocial behaviors, and not in cultures with low government effectiveness.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1164-1175
Number of pages12
Issue number5
StatePublished - 1 Oct 2019

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2019, International Society for Third-Sector Research.


  • Donating
  • Generosity
  • Government effectiveness
  • Helping a stranger
  • Indulgence versus restraint
  • Long-term orientation versus short-term normative orientation
  • Volunteering

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Business and International Management
  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Public Administration
  • Strategy and Management


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