Research

Working Papers:

In the United States, most charitable donations go to religiously affiliated organizations, yet the impact of a charity’s affiliation on donor behavior is currently unclear. To better understand this impact, I use a laboratory experiment to explore how a charity’s religious affiliation drives donor behavior. In doing so, I contribute to the understanding of how charity affiliations impact donor decisions. In the experiment, subjects select one charity from a list of eight, with each charity varying in religious affiliation. Masked and unmasked sessions differ in the inclusion of religious affiliation from half the charities, with masked sessions omitting religious affiliation of the charities. I find that adding religious language decreases donation frequency for Christian charities competing against other religious charities. Furthermore, adding religious language increases the average donation size for secular charities competing against Christian charities, but decreases average donations for Christian charities competing against other religious charities. Subjects prefer charity religious affiliation to match their own religious identity; however, subject strength of religiosity is more predictive in charity choice than religious affiliation.

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Financial disclosure requirements are common accountability measures placed on publicly funded organizations. However, the impact of financial disclosure requirements on organizational structure or on financial contributors’ behavior is not well understood in the context of non-profit organizations. I explore this question by analyzing mandatory Form 990-T disclosure included in the Pension Protection Act. This contributes to the understanding of organizational and financial contributor response to mandatory disclosure in an environment already requiring operation data disclosure. I use a difference-in-differences approach, comparing organizations filing a Form 990-T at least once in the three years prior to passage to those who did not. I find that one in four filing organizations create a subsidiary in the following two filing years. Subsidiary tax filings are not subject to disclosure, indicating that non-profits can restructure their organizations in a manner allowing them to circumvent disclosure requirements. While charities alter their organizational structure, I find no evidence of net changes in donor behavior towards charities, as aggregate total contributions and government grants received do not change.

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Works In Progress:

Protestant Missions in Korea - Examining Long-Run Impacts of Comity Agreements on Education and Income

What long-run impacts do religious based development charities have on economic and cultural outcomes? I explore this question by using the differences in education aid by Presbyterian and Methodist missions in 20th century Korea, where Presbyterian missions established 85% of all mission schools and required conversion for attendance. Using variation in an agreement defining boundaries on Presbyterian and Methodist mission operations, I find no differences in educational attainment, household income, or Protestant affiliation across comity agreement borders when looking at the South Korean Population. However, among South Korean Protestants, I find that Protestants living in historically Presbyterian areas earn approximately 300,000 won a month more than Protestant households on the Methodist side of the comity agreement border. The difference in income is not caused by differing levels of education, as I find no difference in Protestant educational attainment across the comity agreement border in either age groups born before compulsory education or those born afterward.

Attracting the Charitable to Charities - Expanding Formal Charitable Giving in Pakistan (with Husnain Ahmad)

Endogenous Group Formation with Sacrifice and Income Inequality (with Ashley McCrea)

Business Cycle Fluctuations Impact on Charity Entry and Exit Rates (with Teresa Harrison)