Wealth and the Commonwealth: new findings on wherewithal and philanthropy

Autor(es) : John J. Havens, Paul G. Schervish

Drawing in large part on the 1995 Survey of Consumer Finances, the authors describe the pattern of charitable giving by families at the upper reaches of income and wealth, as well as across the income spectrum. The overriding empirical motif is that the distribution of charitable giving is more highly skewed toward the upper end of the financial spectrum than previously documented, and that there appears to be a trend toward becoming even more so. The overriding theoretical motif is that income and wealth are so thoroughly imbricated, especially at the upper end of the financial spectrum, that the analyses of the determinants of charitable giving need to shift from their current focus on the dynamics of income to a complementary focus on the dynamics of wealth.

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Copyright 2001 Boston College Center on Wealth and Philanthropy.