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Does Generosity Beget Generosity? Alumni Giving and Undergraduate Financial Aid

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  • Jonathan Meer
  • Harvey S. Rosen

Abstract

We investigate how undergraduates' financial aid packages affect their subsequent donative behavior as alumni. The empirical work is based upon micro data on alumni giving at an anonymous research university. We focus on three types of financial aid, scholarships, loans, and campus jobs. A novel aspect of our modeling strategy is that, consistent with the view of some professional fundraisers, we allow the receipt of a given form of aid per se to affect alumni giving. At the same time, our model allows the amount of the support to affect giving behavior nonlinearly. Our main findings are: 1) Individuals who took out student loans are less likely to make a gift, other things being the same. We conjecture that this phenomenon is caused by an "annoyance effect" -- alumni resent the fact that they are burdened with loans. 2) Scholarship aid reduces the size of a gift, but has little effect on the probability of donating. The negative effect of receiving a scholarship on donations decreases in absolute value with the size of the scholarship. We do not find any evidence that scholarship recipients give less because they have relatively low incomes post graduation. 3) Aid in the form of campus jobs does not have a strong effect on donative behavior.

Suggested Citation

  • Jonathan Meer & Harvey S. Rosen, 2012. "Does Generosity Beget Generosity? Alumni Giving and Undergraduate Financial Aid," NBER Working Papers 17861, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:17861
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Meer, Jonathan & Rosen, Harvey S., 2009. "The impact of athletic performance on alumni giving: An analysis of microdata," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 28(3), pages 287-294, June.
    2. Monks, James, 2003. "Patterns of giving to one's alma mater among young graduates from selective institutions," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 22(2), pages 121-130, April.
    3. Steffen Huck & Imran Rasul & Andrew Shephard, 2015. "Comparing Charitable Fundraising Schemes: Evidence from a Natural Field Experiment and a Structural Model," American Economic Journal: Economic Policy, American Economic Association, vol. 7(2), pages 326-369, May.
    4. Alpizar, Francisco & Carlsson, Fredrik & Johansson-Stenman, Olof, 2008. "Anonymity, reciprocity, and conformity: Evidence from voluntary contributions to a national park in Costa Rica," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 92(5-6), pages 1047-1060, June.
    5. James Andreoni & Lise Vesterlund, 2001. "Which is the Fair Sex? Gender Differences in Altruism," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 116(1), pages 293-312.
    6. Leung, Siu Fai & Yu, Shihti, 1996. "On the choice between sample selection and two-part models," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 72(1-2), pages 197-229.
    7. Holmes, Jessica, 2009. "Prestige, charitable deductions and other determinants of alumni giving: Evidence from a highly selective liberal arts college," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 28(1), pages 18-28, February.
    8. Marr, Kelly A. & Mullin, Charles H. & Siegfried, John J., 2005. "Undergraduate financial aid and subsequent alumni giving behavior," The Quarterly Review of Economics and Finance, Elsevier, vol. 45(1), pages 123-143, February.
    9. Craig Landry & Andreas Lange & John List & Michael Price & Nicholas Rupp, 2011. "The Hidden Benefits of Control: Evidence from a Natural Field Experiment," Natural Field Experiments 00594, The Field Experiments Website.
    10. Clotfelter, C. T., 2003. "Alumni giving to elite private colleges and universities," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 22(2), pages 109-120, April.
    11. Heckman, James, 2013. "Sample selection bias as a specification error," Applied Econometrics, Publishing House "SINERGIA PRESS", vol. 31(3), pages 129-137.
    12. Brendan M. Cunningham & Carlena K. Cochi-Ficano, 2002. "The Determinants of Donative Revenue Flows from Alumni of Higher Education: An Empirical Inquiry," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 37(3), pages 540-569.
    13. Armin Falk, 2007. "Gift Exchange in the Field," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 75(5), pages 1501-1511, September.
    14. Meer, Jonathan, 2011. "Brother, can you spare a dime? Peer pressure in charitable solicitation," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 95(7), pages 926-941.
    15. Baade, Robert A. & Sundberg, Jeffrey O., 1996. "What determines alumni generosity?," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 15(1), pages 75-81, February.
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    Cited by:

    1. Caroline M. Hoxby, 2014. "The Economics of Online Postsecondary Education: MOOCs, Nonselective Education, and Highly Selective Education," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 104(5), pages 528-533, May.
    2. Jeffrey R. Brown & Stephen G. Dimmock & Scott Weisbenner, 2012. "The Supply of and Demand for Charitable Donations to Higher Education," NBER Chapters,in: How the Financial Crisis and Great Recession Affected Higher Education, pages 151-174 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    3. Caroline Hoxby & Christopher Avery, 2013. "The Missing "One-Offs": The Hidden Supply of High-Achieving, Low-Income Students," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 44(1 (Spring), pages 1-65.
    4. Joel Waldfogel, 2015. "First Degree Price Discrimination Goes to School," Journal of Industrial Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 63(4), pages 569-597, December.
    5. Peter Cappelli & Shinjae Won, 2016. "How You Pay Affects How You Do: Financial Aid Type and Student Performance in College," NBER Working Papers 22604, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • I22 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - Educational Finance; Financial Aid
    • I23 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - Higher Education; Research Institutions

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