IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this article

Time Is Money: Choosing between Charitable Activities


  • Naomi E. Feldman


This paper analyzes the impact of a preferential tax-price for monetary donations on the joint decision to donate time (volunteer) and money. The methodological approach takes into account that consumption of each charitable good affects consumption of the other. Using data from a national survey on household charitable giving, the results show that donations of time and money are substitutes. However, a decrease in the tax-price of monetary donations also has a positive effect on donations of time that acts outside the change in relative prices. This more than offsets the substitution effect leading to an overall positive correlation between the two charitable goods. (JEL D64, H24, H31)

Suggested Citation

  • Naomi E. Feldman, 2010. "Time Is Money: Choosing between Charitable Activities," American Economic Journal: Economic Policy, American Economic Association, vol. 2(1), pages 103-130, February.
  • Handle: RePEc:aea:aejpol:v:2:y:2010:i:1:p:103-30 Note: DOI: 10.1257/pol.2.1.103

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:
    Download Restriction: no

    File URL:
    Download Restriction: Access to full text is restricted to AEA members and institutional subscribers.

    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Scott M. Lynch & Bruce Western, 2004. "Bayesian Posterior Predictive Checks for Complex Models," Sociological Methods & Research, , vol. 32(3), pages 301-335, February.
    2. Freeman, Richard B, 1997. "Working for Nothing: The Supply of Volunteer Labor," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 15(1), pages 140-166, January.
    3. Duncan, Brian, 1999. "Modeling charitable contributions of time and money," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 72(2), pages 213-242, May.
    4. Feldstein, Martin & Clotfelter, Charles, 1976. "Tax incentives and charitable contributions in the United States : A microeconometric analysis," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 5(1-2), pages 1-26.
    5. Randolph, William C, 1995. "Dynamic Income, Progressive Taxes, and the Timing of Charitable Contributions," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 103(4), pages 709-738, August.
    6. Daniel Feenberg & Elisabeth Coutts, 1993. "An introduction to the TAXSIM model," Journal of Policy Analysis and Management, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 12(1), pages 189-194.
    7. Duncan Boldy, 1999. "Contribution," World Scientific Book Chapters,in: Monitoring, Evaluating, Planning Health Services, chapter 25, pages 261-262 World Scientific Publishing Co. Pte. Ltd..
    8. Reece, William S, 1979. "Charitable Contributions: New Evidence on Household Behavior," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 69(1), pages 142-151, March.
    9. Browning, Martin & Deaton, Angus & Irish, Margaret, 1985. "A Profitable Approach to Labor Supply and Commodity Demands over the Life-Cycle," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 53(3), pages 503-543, May.
    10. Brown, Eleanor & Lankford, Hamilton, 1992. "Gifts of money and gifts of time estimating the effects of tax prices and available time," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 47(3), pages 321-341, April.
    11. 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.
    12. Boskin, Michael J & Feldstein, Martin S, 1977. "Effects of the Charitable Deduction on Contributions by Low Income and Middle Income Households: Evidence from the National Survey of Philanthropy," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 59(3), pages 351-354, August.
    13. Tiehen, Laura, 2001. "Tax Policy and Charitable Contributions of Money," National Tax Journal, National Tax Association, vol. 54(n. 4), pages 707-23, December.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)


    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.

    Cited by:

    1. Yörük, Barış K., 2014. "Does giving to charity lead to better health? Evidence from tax subsidies for charitable giving," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 45(C), pages 71-83.
    2. Shibly Shahrier & Koji Kotani, 2015. "Characterizing voluntary donations for natural disaster mitigation in a third world country: A case of Bangladesh," Working Papers SDES-2015-25, Kochi University of Technology, School of Economics and Management, revised Dec 2015.
    3. Alexander L. Brown & Jonathan Meer & J. Forrest Williams, 2013. "Why Do People Volunteer? An Experimental Analysis of Preferences for Time Donations," NBER Working Papers 19066, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    4. Cappellari, Lorenzo & Ghinetti, Paolo & Turati, Gilberto, 2011. "On time and money donations," Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics (formerly The Journal of Socio-Economics), Elsevier, vol. 40(6), pages 853-867.
    5. Bastian Hartmann & Martin Werding, 2012. "Donating Time or Money: Are they Substitutes or Complements?," CESifo Working Paper Series 3835, CESifo Group Munich.
    6. Shibly Shahrier & Koji Kotani, 2016. "Labor Donation Or Money Donation? Pro-Sociality On Prevention Of Natural Disasters In A Case Of Cyclone Aila, Bangladesh," The Singapore Economic Review (SER), World Scientific Publishing Co. Pte. Ltd., vol. 61(01), pages 1-26, March.
    7. repec:eee:joepsy:v:64:y:2018:i:c:p:57-72 is not listed on IDEAS
    8. Duquette, Nicolas J., 2016. "Do tax incentives affect charitable contributions? Evidence from public charities' reported revenues," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 137(C), pages 51-69.
    9. Daniel M. Hungerman, 2011. "Substitution and Stigma: Evidence on Religious Competition from the Catholic Sex-Abuse Scandal," NBER Working Papers 17589, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    10. Erik Ansink & Hans-Peter Weikard & Cees Withagen, 2015. "International Environmental Agreements with Support," Tinbergen Institute Discussion Papers 15-015/VIII, Tinbergen Institute, revised 07 Jul 2017.
    11. Franz Hackl & Martin Halla & Gerald Pruckner, 2012. "Volunteering and the state," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 151(3), pages 465-495, June.
    12. Guido Cozzi & Noemi Mantovan & Robert M. Sauer, 2017. "Does it Pay to Work for Free? Negative Selection and the Wage Returns to Volunteer Experience," Oxford Bulletin of Economics and Statistics, Department of Economics, University of Oxford, vol. 79(6), pages 1018-1045, December.
    13. Yörük Bariş K., 2015. "Do Charitable Subsidies Crowd Out Political Giving? The Missing Link between Charitable and Political Contributions," The B.E. Journal of Economic Analysis & Policy, De Gruyter, vol. 15(1), pages 1-29, January.
    14. Cozzi, Guido & Mantovan, Noemi & Sauer, Robert M., 2013. "Does it Pay to Work for Free? Wage Returns and Gender Differences in the Market for Volunteers," Economics Working Paper Series 1330, University of St. Gallen, School of Economics and Political Science.
    15. Muhammad Jehangir Khan & G. M. Arif, 2016. "Household Charity in Pakistan: Magnitude, Determinants and Its Importance for the Well-being of Society," PIDE-Working Papers 2016:141, Pakistan Institute of Development Economics.
    16. Brown, Sarah & Taylor, Karl, 2015. "Charitable Behaviour and the Big Five Personality Traits: Evidence from UK Panel Data," IZA Discussion Papers 9318, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    17. Steven T Yen & Ernest M Zampelli, 2017. "Charitable Contributions of Time and Money: A Multivariate Sample Selection Approach," Eastern Economic Journal, Palgrave Macmillan;Eastern Economic Association, vol. 43(1), pages 43-63, January.
    18. Robert M. Sauer, 2015. "Does It Pay For Women To Volunteer?," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 56, pages 537-564, May.
    19. Michael Insler & Bryce McMurrey & Alexander F. McQuoid, 2016. "From Broken Windows to Broken Bonds: Militarized Police and Social Fragmentation," Departmental Working Papers 53, United States Naval Academy Department of Economics.
    20. Barış K. Yörük, 2013. "The Impact of Charitable Subsidies on Religious Giving and Attendance: Evidence from Panel Data," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 95(5), pages 1708-1721, December.
    21. Baris Yoruk, 2013. "Are Generous People More Likely to Vote?," Discussion Papers 13-10, University at Albany, SUNY, Department of Economics.
    22. Max van Lent, 2017. "Increasing the Well-Being of Others On-the-Job and Outside the Workplace," Tinbergen Institute Discussion Papers 17-061/VII, Tinbergen Institute.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • D64 - Microeconomics - - Welfare Economics - - - Altruism; Philanthropy; Intergenerational Transfers
    • H24 - Public Economics - - Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue - - - Personal Income and Other Nonbusiness Taxes and Subsidies
    • H31 - Public Economics - - Fiscal Policies and Behavior of Economic Agents - - - Household


    This item is featured on the following reading lists or Wikipedia pages:
    1. Time Is Money: Choosing between Charitable Activities (AEJ:EP 2010) in ReplicationWiki


    Access and download statistics


    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:aea:aejpol:v:2:y:2010:i:1:p:103-30. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Jane Voros) or (Michael P. Albert). General contact details of provider: .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.