Inequality and Philanthropy: High-Income Giving in the United States 1917-2012

43 Pages Posted: 27 Sep 2017 Last revised: 13 Aug 2018

See all articles by Nicolas Duquette

Nicolas Duquette

University of Southern California

Date Written: June 14, 2018

Abstract

From 1917 to 2012, donations by high-income households in the USA have moved inversely with income inequality. This association contradicts historical narratives and prevailing theory, both of which that imply that high-income households donate rising income shares when inequality increases. The negative correlation holds both unconditionally and after conditioning on other explanatory variables, at both the national and US state levels. Low payout ratios of foundations and endowed charities, combined with this observed relationship, imply that differences in charitable giving will tend to entrench, not reduce, inequality across places over time.

Keywords: Inequality, Philanthropy, Charitable Giving, Taxation, American History

JEL Classification: D31, D64, H23, N32, N72

Suggested Citation

Duquette, Nicolas, Inequality and Philanthropy: High-Income Giving in the United States 1917-2012 (June 14, 2018). Explorations in Economic History, Forthcoming. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3042802 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3042802

Nicolas Duquette (Contact Author)

University of Southern California ( email )

2250 Alcazar Street
Los Angeles, CA 90089
United States

HOME PAGE: http://www.nicolasduquette.com

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