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Family Structure and Income During Childhood and Subsequent Prosocial Behavior in Young Adult


  • Robert Bandy
  • Mark Wilhelm

    () (Department of Economics, Indiana Unviersity-Purdue University Indianapolis)


Models of young adults’ prosocial behavior—charitable giving and volunteering—are estimated as functions of family structure and income during the stages of childhood. Estimating a model of any subsequent outcome (prosocial or otherwise) as a function of stage-specific family structure and income imposes a set of restrictions on the underlying dynamic model of the child development process. Such restrictions have been implicitly and unknowingly imposed by the family structure specifications used in past research, and in some cases the past restrictions may not be sensible a priori. We consider several specifications used in past research, propose several new specifications with a priori sensible restrictions, and use Bayesian model comparison methods to choose among them. The models are estimated using data from the Panel Study of Income Dynamics and its new module the Center on Philanthropy Panel Study. The results indicate that the development of charitable giving and volunteering behavior is associated with family instability and low income in adolescence.

Suggested Citation

  • Robert Bandy & Mark Wilhelm, 2007. "Family Structure and Income During Childhood and Subsequent Prosocial Behavior in Young Adult," Working Papers wp200702, Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis, Department of Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:iup:wpaper:wp200702

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    Charitable Giving; Donations; Volunteering; Altruism; Warm Glow;

    JEL classification:

    • D64 - Microeconomics - - Welfare Economics - - - Altruism; Philanthropy; Intergenerational Transfers
    • H40 - Public Economics - - Publicly Provided Goods - - - General
    • J12 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Marriage; Marital Dissolution; Family Structure

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