Charity and Public Libraries: Does Government Funding Crowd-Out Donations?

29 Pages Posted: 23 Mar 2017

Date Written: January 15, 2017


There are over 9,000 public libraries in the United States servicing more than 1.5 billion people and raising over $11.5 billion dollars in revenue with approximately 8% of this total coming from donations. This paper analyzes the determinants of donations to public libraries testing the following hypothesis: is there a crowding-out effect from government funding of public libraries? I address this issue by looking at novel data, the Public Library Survey, and use panel from 2000 to 2013. The results suggest a crowding in effect in all levels of government: 4 to 6 cents in local government, 20 to 23 cents in state government and 75 cents to 1 dollar and 33 cents in federal government. Also, the government expenditure has an inverted U shape.

Keywords: Charity, Crowd-out, Donation, Government Spending, Public Libraries

JEL Classification: H41, Z11

Suggested Citation

Borges Ferreira Neto, Amir, Charity and Public Libraries: Does Government Funding Crowd-Out Donations? (January 15, 2017). Available at SSRN: or

Amir Borges Ferreira Neto (Contact Author)

Florida Gulf Coast University ( email )

Lutgert College of Business
10501 FGCU Boulevard South
Fort Myers, FL 33965-6565
United States
33965-6565 (Fax)


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