A new study from the Center for Global Prosperity at the Hudson Institute finds that the Netherlands has the fewest legal barriers to and most incentives for charitable giving.
Based on an analysis of three key indicators in sixty-four countries, the Index of Philanthropic Freedom (50 pages, PDF) rated the regulatory environment in the Netherlands as the most conducive to philanthropic freedom, with an overall score of 4.8 out of 5.0, followed by the United States, which had an overall score of 4.7. The U.S. earned a top score of 5.0 for the extent to which its tax system is "favorable" to donors and recipients of charitable gifts; 4.7 for the ease of civil society organization formation, operation, and dissolution; and 4.5 for the extent to which the regulatory environment is supportive of cross-border donation flows.
Funded by the International Development Research Centre and the Bristol-Myers Squibb, Charles Stewart Mott, John Templeton, and Bill & Melinda Gates foundations, the report also found that while the regulatory environment in developed countries tended to be more conducive to philanthropy, 36 percent of the countries in the study with per capita incomes of less than $25,000 scored in the top half overall. Saudi Arabia, which effectively bans incoming foreign donations, ranked at the bottom of the index, while Qatar, which has the highest per capita income of the countries analyzed, ranked second from the bottom.
"The Index provides a roadmap on which policies are needed to improve the giving environment in all countries," said Carol Adelman, senior fellow and director of the Center for Global Prosperity. "Our research shows how to make nonprofit registration easier, create the best tax incentives, and improve cross-border flows to grow generosity everywhere."