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Inequality and philanthropy: High-income giving in the United States 1917–2012

Nicolas Duquette ()

Explorations in Economic History, 2018, vol. 70, issue C, 25-41

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; American history; Charitable giving; Taxation (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: D31 D64 H23 N32 N72 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2018
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