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CESIfo Workshop on The Economics of Philanthropy


Mon, 2016-07-18 - Tue, 2016-07-19

The CESIfo Workshop on The Economics of Philanthropy will be held on 18 – 19 July 2016 on the island of San Servolo in the Bay of Venice, Italy. The workshop is organised by Kimberley Scharf and Mirco Tonin. The deadline for submission is December 22, 2015.

CESifo will provide accommodation, and will reimburse economy travel costs, for all participants with accepted papers. All CESifo Research Network members are invited to participate, but are expected to provide their own funding for travel and accommodation.
For more information please consult www.cesifo.org/venice


In many societies, a large fraction of the population is involved in philanthropic activities like charitable giving or volunteering, as recipients or providers. Accompanying this are significant levels of public support for such activities. Yet in spite of this, the evidence base is inadequate. For example, there is no conclusive evidence about what motivates charitable giving and engagement in philanthropic activities. Various explanations have been proposed, ranging from pure altruism and ‘warm glow’ to social pressure and signalling, but a deeper understanding of what drives people’s motives is essential to evaluate the welfare effects of philanthropic activities and, therefore, to design appropriate policies.

Likewise, for profit corporations engage more and more in philanthropy, but we know little of the drivers behind this activity. Is it a genuine concern towards stakeholders and the long-term reputation of the company? Is it an attempt to gain the favour of customers, regulators or employees and, thus, potentially consistent with profit maximization? Or is it a corporate governance issue, with executives buying photo opportunities with shareholders’ money?

Finally, the trend towards increased inequality in many developed countries has heightened tensions between the philanthropic pursuits of large and small donors. This has not only prompted a debate about whether tax relief provisions for charitable donations unduly favour higher-income donors – progressive taxation means that large donors take a more than proportional share of the public money spent on funding tax incentives for charitable contributions – but also a debate about the costs and benefits of diversity in the charitable sector and whether such diversity should be limited by imposing more restrictive criteria on charities and donations in determining their eligibility for preferential treatment under the law. Researchers investigating the economics of philanthropy as the topics suggested in the above general framework are invited to submit their papers for presentation at the conference.


CESifo (Center for Economic Studies and Ifo Institute for Economic Research)

  The CESifo Group, consisting of the Center for Economic Studies (CES), the Ifo Institute and the CESifo GmbH (Munich Society for the Promotion of Economic Research) is a research group unique in Europe in the area of economic research. It combines the theoretically oriented economic...

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