Publication details

Philanthropy: Integral Part of the Economic as well as Social Theories

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Year of publication 2009
Type Appeared in Conference without Proceedings
MU Faculty or unit

Faculty of Economics and Administration

Description The topic of philanthropy has been receiving attention internationally for several decades. Like other areas of nonprofit studies, charitable giving and volunteering are attracting more and more attention from researchers in a wide variety of disciplines including economics. Even though philanthropy tends to be considered a sociological theme rather than an economic one, it poses a lot of questions that challenge economists too. My research questions are as follows: How can economists contribute to the theory of philanthropy? Can we consider voluntary giving a demonstration of generosity rather than market-based solutions? Firstly, I intend to examine the terms that are used in the theory of public economics and to use them to look at the issues of philanthropy. They are e.g. the Samaritan’s dilemma; the prisoner’s dilemma; or the free-rider problem. I am also going to focus on the existence of externalities as a side effect of any action that causes market failure and on the main principles of redistribution of wealth. Next, I try to answer the second question by means of sociological theory. The economists who investigate philanthropy are repeatedly faced with the obvious fact that it does not involve any buying and selling; it is not a marketplace operation. We have to look for, and identify, social values of donors and volunteers rather than economic values because the economists are not able to explain empathy, altruism and helping behavior through economic principles.
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