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Does One Charitable Contribution Come at the Expense of Another?

Listed author(s):
  • Reinstein David A

    ()

    (University of Essex)

This paper defines, discusses, and measures “expenditure substitution” in charitable giving. Motivated by a model of conditional demand, I consider the extent to which a “temporary shock” that increases an individual's donation to one cause by a particular amount displaces her gifts to other charitable causes. I use the 2001-2007 waves of the PSID/COPPS, the first data set of its kind, to identify this. Households that give more to one type of charity tend to give more to others. However, many of the correlations between the residuals after fixed-effects regressions are negative and significant, particularly for larger donors and for certain categories of charitable giving. Given plausible econometric assumptions, the negative correlations are strong evidence of expenditure substitution. Overall, these results suggest heterogeneous motivations for giving: small givers may be mainly driven by temporary shocks and personal appeals while larger givers may have concave multi-charity warm-glow preferences.

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Article provided by De Gruyter in its journal The B.E. Journal of Economic Analysis & Policy.

Volume (Year): 11 (2011)
Issue (Month): 1 (June)
Pages: 1-54

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Handle: RePEc:bpj:bejeap:v:11:y:2011:i:1:n:40
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  1. Becker, Gary S, 1974. "A Theory of Social Interactions," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 82(6), pages 1063-1093, Nov.-Dec..
  2. Martin, Richard & Randal, John, 2008. "How is donation behaviour affected by the donations of others?," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 67(1), pages 228-238, July.
  3. James Andreoni & Eleanor Brown & Isaac Rischall, 2003. "Charitable Giving by Married Couples Who Decides and Why Does it Matter?," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 38(1).
  4. Andreoni, James, 1990. "Impure Altruism and Donations to Public Goods: A Theory of Warm-Glow Giving?," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 100(401), pages 464-477, June.
  5. Duncan, Brian, 2004. "A theory of impact philanthropy," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 88(9-10), pages 2159-2180, August.
  6. Montmarquette, Claude & Monty, Luc, 1987. "An Empirical Model of a Household's Choice of Activities," Journal of Applied Econometrics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 2(2), pages 145-158, April.
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