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Altruism and the Child Cycle of Alumni Donations

Author

Listed:
  • 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)

Suggested Citation

  • Jonathan Meer & Harvey S. Rosen, 2009. "Altruism and the Child Cycle of Alumni Donations," American Economic Journal: Economic Policy, American Economic Association, vol. 1(1), pages 258-286, February.
  • 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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    File URL: http://www.aeaweb.org/articles.php?doi=10.1257/pol.1.1.258
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    Citations

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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. Nadine Chlaß & Lata Gangadharan & Kristy Jones, 2015. "Charitable giving and intermediation," Jena Economic Research Papers 2015-021, Friedrich-Schiller-University Jena.
    3. repec:pri:cepsud:173rosen is not listed on IDEAS
    4. repec:pri:cepsud:187rosen is not listed on IDEAS
    5. Meer, Jonathan & Rosen, Harvey S., 2011. "The ABCs of charitable solicitation," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 95(5-6), pages 363-371, June.
    6. 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.
    7. Phanindra V. Wunnava & Albert A. Okunade, 2013. "Do Business Executives Give More to Their Alma Mater? Longitudinal Evidence from a Large University," American Journal of Economics and Sociology, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 72(3), pages 761-778, July.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • D64 - Microeconomics - - Welfare Economics - - - Altruism; Philanthropy; Intergenerational Transfers
    • D91 - Microeconomics - - Micro-Based Behavioral Economics - - - Role and Effects of Psychological, Emotional, Social, and Cognitive Factors on Decision Making
    • I21 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - Analysis of Education

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