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The Supply of and Demand for Charitable Donations to Higher Education

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  • Jeffrey R. Brown
  • Stephen G. Dimmock
  • Scott Weisbenner

Abstract

Charitable donations are an important revenue source for many institutions of higher education. We explore how donations respond to economic and financial market shocks, accounting for both supply and demand channels through which these shocks operate. In panel data with fixed effects to control for unobservable differences across universities, we find that overall donations to higher education – and especially capital donations for university endowments or for buildings– are positively and significantly correlated with the average income and house values in the state where the university is located (supply effects). We also find that when a university suffers a negative endowment shock that is large relative to its operating budget, donations increase (demand effects). This is especially true for donations earmarked for current use. We conclude by discussing the importance of understanding how donations respond to economic shocks for effective financial risk management by colleges and universities.

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Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 18389.

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Date of creation: Sep 2012
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Publication status: Forthcoming: The Supply of and Demand for Charitable Donations to Higher Education , Jeffrey R. Brown, Stephen G. Dimmock, Scott Weisbenner. in How the Financial Crisis and Great Recession Affected Higher Education , Brown and Hoxby. 2014
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:18389

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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. Jonathan Meer & Harvey S. Rosen, 2008. "The Impact of Athletic Performance on Alumni Giving: An Analysis of Micro Data," NBER Working Papers 13937, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Brown, Keith C. & Garlappi, Lorenzo & Tiu, Cristian, 2010. "Asset allocation and portfolio performance: Evidence from university endowment funds," Journal of Financial Markets, Elsevier, vol. 13(2), pages 268-294, May.
  4. Josh Lerner & Antoinette Schoar & Jialan Wang, 2008. "Secrets of the Academy: The Drivers of University Endowment Success," NBER Working Papers 14341, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. Zoran Ivkovic & Scott Weisbenner, 2005. "Local Does as Local Is: Information Content of the Geography of Individual Investors' Common Stock Investments," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 60(1), pages 267-306, 02.
  6. Gerald E. Auten & Holger Sieg & Charles T. Clotfelter, 2002. "Charitable Giving, Income, and Taxes: An Analysis of Panel Data," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 92(1), pages 371-382, March.
  7. Jeffrey R. Brown & Stephen G. Dimmock & Jun-Koo Kang & Scott J. Weisbenner, 2014. "How University Endowments Respond to Financial Market Shocks: Evidence and Implications," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 104(3), pages 931-62, March.
  8. Tobin, James, 1974. "What Is Permanent Endowment Income?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 64(2), pages 427-32, May.
  9. Kingma, Bruce Robert, 1989. "An Accurate Measurement of the Crowd-Out Effect, Income Effect, and Price Effect for Charitable Contributions," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 97(5), pages 1197-1207, October.
  10. Roberts, Russell D, 1984. "A Positive Model of Private Charity and Public Transfers," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 92(1), pages 136-48, February.
  11. Steinberg, Richard S, 1987. "Voluntary Donations and Public Expenditures in a Federal System," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 77(1), pages 24-36, March.
  12. 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.
  13. Stephen G. Dimmock, 2012. "Background Risk and University Endowment Funds," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 94(3), pages 789-799, August.
  14. Meer, Jonathan & Rosen, Harvey S., 2012. "Does generosity beget generosity? Alumni giving and undergraduate financial aid," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 31(6), pages 890-907.
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Cited by:
  1. Keith Brown & Cristian Tiu, 2013. "The Interaction of Spending Policies, Asset Allocation Strategies, and Investment Performance at University Endowment Funds," NBER Working Papers 19517, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Caroline M. Hoxby, 2013. "Endowment Management Based on a Positive Model of the University," NBER Chapters, in: How the Financial Crisis and Great Recession Affected Higher Education National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Keith C. Brown & Cristian Ioan Tiu, 2013. "The Interaction of Spending Policies, Asset Allocation Strategies, and Investment Performance at University Endowment Funds," NBER Chapters, in: How the Financial Crisis and Great Recession Affected Higher Education National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.

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