Toward explaining congregational giving

Roger Finke, Matt Bahr, Christopher P. Scheitle

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

42 Scopus citations


A series of research projects have identified the major correlates of financial giving to religious congregations, but a satisfactory explanation of congregational giving has proven elusive. We propose a theoretical model that shifts attention from the individual to the organization and is derived from a more general theoretical model of religious commitment. Testing the causal model with an expanded range of organizational measures and structural equation models, we conclude that congregational beliefs, requirements, and networks serve to mutually support each other in generating an exclusiveness that produces a high level of giving. When combined with size of congregation, income, and denominational affiliation the proposed theoretical model fits the data quite well and explains a high level of the variance.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)620-641
Number of pages22
JournalSocial Science Research
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 2006

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Education
  • Sociology and Political Science


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