Wednesday, 1st February 2023
14:30 - 15:30
Butler Room - Nuffield College
Better Call Bill? How Individuals React to the Philanthropy of the Rich
Philanthropy is one of the main characteristics that define the super-rich today. Some of the wealthiest individuals in the planet, like Zuckerberg and Bezos, have recently pledged to give away most of their assets. Although there is a growing literature about taxing the rich, the impact of the philanthropic behaviour of the rich on individuals’ preferences for taxing them has received very little attention. The aim of this paper is to come up with a theory about how the philanthropy of the rich can reduce individuals’ willingness to tax them. I argue that citizens might reward the rich for their giving for two different reasons: (i) for contributing to the common good through their donations and (ii) for signalling through their donations that they care about their community and that they are prosocial and generous. To test these theoretical expectations, I design a survey experiment where I provide individuals with information about the philanthropy of the rich.