Faith, Hope, and Christian Charity: How Religion Explains Giving When Warm Glow and Impure Altruism Do Not

52 Pages Posted: 3 May 2018

See all articles by Clive D. Fraser

Clive D. Fraser

University of Leicester - Department of Economics

Date Written: April 17, 2018

Abstract

Many charities, especially religious ones, spend significantly to improve poor community members' living standards. Conventional theoretical philanthropy models with altruism or impure altruism/warm glow cannot explain poverty-alleviating private transfers in the type and size of communities where this occurs - e.g., congregations. However, if preferences reflect religious precepts ("you are your brother's keeper"; "treat neighbours like yourself"), charitable poverty alleviation can be optimal even in large communities. Income and price elasticities for giving prove important. Surprisingly, charitable private transfers are less likely when donors care for recipients' living standard instead of the aggregate amount all recipients get.

Keywords: Religion, philanthropy, warm-glow, impure altruism, poverty alleviation

JEL Classification: D39, D64, H40, I39, Z12

Suggested Citation

Fraser, Clive D., Faith, Hope, and Christian Charity: How Religion Explains Giving When Warm Glow and Impure Altruism Do Not (April 17, 2018). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3164327 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3164327

Clive D. Fraser (Contact Author)

University of Leicester - Department of Economics ( email )

Department of Economics
Leicester LE1 7RH, Leicestershire LE1 7RH
United Kingdom

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