We study alumni contributions to an anonymous research university.
If alumni believe donations will increase the likelihood of their
child's admission, and if this belief helps motivate their giving, then
the pattern of giving should vary systematically with the ages of their
children, whether the children ultimately apply to the university, and
the admissions outcome. We call this pattern the child cycle of alumni
giving. The evidence is consistent with the child-cycle pattern. Thus,
while altruism drives some giving, the hope for a reciprocal benefit
also plays a role. We compute rough estimates of the proportion of
giving due to selfish motives. (JEL D91, D64, I21)
"Altruism and the Child Cycle of Alumni Donations."
American Economic Journal: Economic Policy,
Intertemporal Consumer Choice; Life Cycle Models and Saving
Analysis of Education