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The Sources and Uses of Annual Giving at Private Research Universities


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  • Ronald G. Ehrenberg
  • Christopher L. Smith


Private research universities differ in the shares of their annual giving coming from different sources (alumni, other individuals, foundations, corporations) and the shares of their annual giving applied to different uses (current operations, buildings and equipment, enhancing their endowments). After providing background data on the aggregate variation in these shares over time and their interuniversity variation at a point in time, our econometric analyses use data from a panel of research universities that span a 30-year period to provide explanations for these differences. These differences are seen to depend upon institutional characteristics, macroeconomic variables and tax parameters. One key finding is that richer institutions, as measured by endowment per student, devote a larger share of their annual giving to further building their endowments. This contributes to the increasing dispersion of wealth across private research universities.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 8307.

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Date of creation: May 2001
Date of revision:
Publication status: published as Alexander, F.K. and R. Ehrenberg (eds.) Maximizing Resources: Universities, Public Policy and Revenue Production. Jossey-Bass, 2003.
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:8307

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Cited by:
  1. 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.
  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, 2009. "Family Bonding with Universities," NBER Working Papers 15493, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. 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..


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