Corporate Philanthropy and the Market for Altruism

45 Pages Posted: 14 Apr 2008 Last revised: 24 Oct 2008

M. Todd Henderson

University of Chicago - Law School

Anup Malani

University of Chicago - Law School; University of Chicago Pritzker School of Medicine; Resources for the Future; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

Date Written: September 4, 2008

Abstract

Academics and businesspeople have long debate the merits of corporate philanthropy. It is our contention that this debate is too narrowly focused on the role of corporations. There is a robust market for philanthropic works - which we call the market for altruism - in which non-profit organizations, the government, and for-profit corporations compete to do good works. We describe this market and the role corporations play in satisfying the demand for altruism. We conclude that corporations should only engage in philanthropy when they have a comparative advantage over non-profits and the government. Moreover, the government must avoid discriminating - particularly when setting tax policy - between non-profits and corporations that do good deeds.

Suggested Citation

Henderson, M. Todd and Malani, Anup, Corporate Philanthropy and the Market for Altruism (September 4, 2008). U of Chicago Law & Economics, Olin Working Paper No. 399; Columbia Law Review, Forthcoming. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1116797 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1116797

M. Todd Henderson (Contact Author)

University of Chicago - Law School ( email )

1111 E. 60th St.
Chicago, IL 60637
United States
773-834-4168 (Phone)
773-702-0730 (Fax)

Anup Malani

University of Chicago - Law School ( email )

1111 E. 60th St.
Chicago, IL 60637
United States
773-702-9602 (Phone)
773-702-0730 (Fax)

HOME PAGE: http://www.law.uchicago.edu/faculty/malani/

University of Chicago Pritzker School of Medicine

Chicago, IL 60637
United States

Resources for the Future

1616 P Street, NW
Washington, DC 20036
United States

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

1050 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

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