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Egoism and the Return of Charitable Gifts

Picton, A. J. (2017). Egoism and the Return of Charitable Gifts. In R. Hickey, & H. Conway (Eds.), Modern Studies in Property Law (Vol. 9, pp. 175-194). Oxford: Hart.

19 Pages Posted: 18 Oct 2017  

John Picton

University of Liverpool

Date Written: January 2, 2017

Abstract

The law assumes that all donors are altruistic, when they are not. It assumes that all donors care about the charitable ends to which they give their money, when they do not. In consequence of the law's misconception, judges sometimes proceed to return gifts without a sound legal rationale for doing so. It is argued that where gifts fail, the legal basis of return is that, in analogy with frustrated consumers who have paid for unobtainable goods, donors should get their money back. With reference to altruism and egoism as the concepts are understood in economic donative theory, it will be seen that this legal logic only bites in relation to individuals who genuinely care about the delivery of charitable outcomes. The paper applies warm glow theory, alongside more traditional understandings of economic altruism to the law of failed testamentary gifts.

Keywords: warm glow, altruism, egoism, charity law, non-profits, cy-pres, succession, andreoni

Suggested Citation

Picton, John, Egoism and the Return of Charitable Gifts (January 2, 2017). Picton, A. J. (2017). Egoism and the Return of Charitable Gifts. In R. Hickey, & H. Conway (Eds.), Modern Studies in Property Law (Vol. 9, pp. 175-194). Oxford: Hart.. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3054507

John Picton (Contact Author)

University of Liverpool ( email )

Liverpool, L69 7ZA
United Kingdom

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