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Social EconomicsCurrent and Emerging Avenues$
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Joan Costa-Font and Mario Macis

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780262035651

Published to MIT Press Scholarship Online: September 2017

DOI: 10.7551/mitpress/9780262035651.001.0001

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Why Give Away Your Wealth? An Analysis of the Billionaires’ View

Why Give Away Your Wealth? An Analysis of the Billionaires’ View

(p.61) 4 Why Give Away Your Wealth? An Analysis of the Billionaires’ View
Social Economics

Jana Sadeh

Mirco Tonin

Michael Vlassopoulos

The MIT Press

We explore what motivates the philanthropic activity of extremely wealthy individuals and families. We focus on a recent large-scale philanthropic initiative by billionaires, the Giving Pledge, a commitment to donating half or more of one's wealth. We perform two pieces of analysis: first, we investigate what personal characteristics of billionaires are associated with becoming a pledger. Second, we undertake a textual analysis of the pledgers' letters describing their philanthropic outlook and classify their motivation into ten categories. We then correlate these motivational categories with various personal characteristics of the pledgers. The main insights obtained from our analysis is that pledgers are more likely to be self-made billionaires, and that their philanthropy is impact-driven.

Keywords:   Giving Pledge, Charitable giving, Philanthropy, Motivation, D64, D71, H41

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