Charitable Giving in Married Couples: Untangling the Effects of Education and Income on Spouses’ Giving

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2022
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American English
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Abstract

This research note looks beyond the unitary household model and analyzes the influence of household resources by gender on charitable giving. We investigate the intrahousehold variables of income and education and their effects on giving behaviors in married couples. We use data from the longitudinal Philanthropy Panel Study (2005–2017) to examine how spouses’ income and educational differences affect charitable giving behaviors and introduce fixed effects to control for unobserved heterogeneity. Initially, we find a positive relationship between both the husband’s and wife’s earned and unearned incomes and the likelihood and amount of giving by married couples. However, when fixed effects are used, we find women’s earned income to be significantly associated with all forms of giving, showing that women’s labor market earnings disproportionately influence giving behavior. Education is less of a factor in whether couples give and influences giving only when the husband has more education than the wife.

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Mesch DJ, Osili UO, Dale EJ, Ackerman J, Bergdoll J, O’Connor HA. Charitable Giving in Married Couples: Untangling the Effects of Education and Income on Spouses’ Giving. Nonprofit and Voluntary Sector Quarterly. 2022;51(2):444-458. doi:10.1177/08997640211008983
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