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The impact of athletic performance on alumni giving: An analysis of microdata

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  • Meer, Jonathan
  • Rosen, Harvey S.

Abstract

An ongoing controversy in the literature on the economics of higher education centers on whether the success of a school's athletic program affects alumni donations. This paper uses a unique data set to investigate this issue. The data contain detailed information about donations made by alumni of a selective research university as well as a variety of their economic and demographic characteristics. One important question is how to characterize the success of an athletic program. We focus not only on the performance of the most visible teams, football and basketball, but also on the success of the team on which he or she played as an undergraduate. One of our key findings is that the impact of athletic success on donations differs for men and women. When a male graduate's former team wins its conference championship, his donations for general purposes increase by about 7% and his donations to the athletic program increase by about the same percentage. Football and basketball records generally have small and statistically insignificant effects; in some specifications, a winning basketball season reduces donations. For women there is no statistically discernible effect of a former team's success on current giving; as is the case for men, the impacts of football and basketball, while statistically significant in some specifications, are not important in magnitude. Another novel result is that for males, varsity athletes whose teams were successful when they were undergraduates subsequently make larger donations to the athletic program. For example, if a male alumnus's team won its conference championship during his senior year, his subsequent giving to the athletic program is about 8% a year higher, ceteris paribus.

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Economics of Education Review.

Volume (Year): 28 (2009)
Issue (Month): 3 (June)
Pages: 287-294

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Handle: RePEc:eee:ecoedu:v:28:y:2009:i:3:p:287-294

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Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/econedurev

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Keywords: Educational economics Educational finance;

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References

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  1. Clotfelter, C. T., 2003. "Alumni giving to elite private colleges and universities," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 22(2), pages 109-120, April.
  2. Kelly Dugan & Charles H. Mullin & John J. Siegfried, 2000. "Undergraduate Financial Aid and Subsequent Alumni Giving Behavior," Vanderbilt University Department of Economics Working Papers 0040, Vanderbilt University Department of Economics.
  3. Monks, James, 2003. "Patterns of giving to one's alma mater among young graduates from selective institutions," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 22(2), pages 121-130, April.
  4. Sarah E. Turner & Lauren A. Meserve & William G. Bowen, 2001. "Winning and Giving: Football Results and Alumni Giving at Selective Private Colleges and Universities," Social Science Quarterly, Southwestern Social Science Association, vol. 82(4), pages 812-826.
  5. Ronald G. Ehrenberg & Christopher L. Smith, 2001. "The Sources and Uses of Annual Giving at Private Research Universities," NBER Working Papers 8307, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  6. James Andreoni & Lise Vesterlund, 2001. "Which Is The Fair Sex? Gender Differences In Altruism," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 116(1), pages 293-312, February.
  7. Lawrence M. Kahn, 2007. "Markets: Cartel Behavior and Amateurism in College Sports," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 21(1), pages 209-226, Winter.
  8. Jonathan Meer & Harvey S. Rosen, 2007. "Altruism and the Child-Cycle of Alumni Giving," NBER Working Papers 13152, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  9. Brendan M. Cunningham & Carlena K. Cochi-Ficano, 2002. "The Determinants of Donative Revenue Flows from Alumni of Higher Education: An Empirical Inquiry," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 37(3), pages 540-569.
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Citations

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Cited by:
  1. Jonathan Meer & Harvey S. Rosen, 2011. "Does Generosity Beget Generosity? Alumni Giving and Undergraduate Financial Aid," Working Papers 1361, Princeton University, Department of Economics, Center for Economic Policy Studies..
  2. Jeffrey R. Brown & Stephen G. Dimmock & Scott Weisbenner, 2012. "The Supply of and Demand for Charitable Donations to Higher Education," NBER Chapters, in: How the Financial Crisis and Great Recession Affected Higher Education National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Meer, Jonathan, 2011. "Brother, can you spare a dime? Peer pressure in charitable solicitation," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 95(7), pages 926-941.
  4. Michael L. Anderson, 2012. "The Benefits of College Athletic Success: An Application of the Propensity Score Design with Instrumental Variables," NBER Working Papers 18196, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. Hurwitz, Michael, 2011. "The impact of legacy status on undergraduate admissions at elite colleges and universities," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 30(3), pages 480-492, June.
  6. Jonathan Meer & Harvey S. Rosen, 2009. "Family Bonding with Universities," NBER Working Papers 15493, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  7. Jonathan Meer & Harvey S. Rosen, 2012. "Does Generosity Beget Generosity? Alumni Giving and Undergraduate Financial Aid," NBER Working Papers 17861, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.

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