Does your country encourage or discourage generous giving?

To what degree does your country respect the freedom to be generous? That’s the question examined in a new pilot study from the Center for Global Prosperity at the Hudson Institute. The new research explores the climate of philanthropic freedom in 13 nations.

The study (PDF download) uses a variety of metrics — including the ease of creating philanthropic organizations and tax policies that either encourage or discourage individual generosity — to determine the level of restrictions in each country.

The Hudson Institute’s index of philanthropic freedom puts the Netherlands, the United States, Sweden, Japan, Australia, and Mexico at the top. Turkey, Russia, Egypt, and China round out the bottom.

The study concludes:

Many of the high scoring nations are also high income countries, reflecting the long history of philanthropy and civil society in these countries. Additionally, some emerging economies scored high also, reflecting an improving environment that is conducive to philanthropy in those nations. For example, South Africa, India, and Mexico have implemented policies that promote a healthy civil society and provide tax deductions for donors.

Because this study assesses the barriers to civil society organizations and cross-border flows, countries that have restrictive regulations in these two categories scored lower, despite having relatively large tax incentives for donors. For example, countries such as Egypt and Russia provide tax deductions for donors, but the limitations on registration and operations of [charitable organizations] are restrictive. Furthermore, the barriers to the flow of cross-border foreign funds in both countries are tightly regulated and highly restrictive.

The Hudson Institute plans to survey all countries in the future to provide a more complete picture.