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Altruism and the Child Cycle of Alumni Donations

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  • Jonathan Meer
  • Harvey S. Rosen

Abstract

We study alumni contributions to an anonymous research university. If alumni believe donations will increase the likelihood of their child's admission, and if this belief helps motivate their giving, then the pattern of giving should vary systematically with the ages of their children, whether the children ultimately apply to the university, and the admissions outcome. We call this pattern the child cycle of alumni giving. The evidence is consistent with the child-cycle pattern. Thus, while altruism drives some giving, the hope for a reciprocal benefit also plays a role. We compute rough estimates of the proportion of giving due to selfish motives. (JEL D91, D64, I21)

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by American Economic Association in its journal American Economic Journal: Economic Policy.

Volume (Year): 1 (2009)
Issue (Month): 1 (February)
Pages: 258-86

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Handle: RePEc:aea:aejpol:v:1:y:2009:i:1:p:258-86

Note: DOI: 10.1257/pol.1.1.258
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Cited by:
  1. Jonathan Meer & Harvey S. Rosen, 2009. "Family Bonding with Universities," NBER Working Papers 15493, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Meer, Jonathan & Rosen, Harvey S., 2011. "The ABCs of charitable solicitation," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 95(5), pages 363-371.
  3. Jonathan Meer & Harvey S. Rosen, 2008. "The ABCs of Charitable Solicitation," Working Papers 1057, Princeton University, Department of Economics, Center for Economic Policy Studies..
  4. Jonathan Meer & Harvey S. Rosen, 2009. "Family Bonding with Universities," Working Papers 1163, Princeton University, Department of Economics, Center for Economic Policy Studies..
  5. Lacetera, Nicola & Macis, Mario, 2010. "Social image concerns and prosocial behavior: Field evidence from a nonlinear incentive scheme," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 76(2), pages 225-237, November.

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