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Essays in Applied Microeconomics

Zhang, Jipeng (2011) Essays in Applied Microeconomics. Doctoral Dissertation, University of Pittsburgh. (Unpublished)

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In this dissertation, I develop empirical methods, built on the recent advances in industrial organization, to study charitable giving and fundraising in the charity market. In the first essay, we propose a multiple discrete choice model with differentiated charitable products and estimate the model using a unique data set of donor lists for the ten largest charitable organizations in Pittsburgh. We find that some private benefits such as invitations to private dinner parties and special events are effective tools for fundraising. Our policy simulations suggest that the composition of private benefits has a potentially large impact on donor behavior. In the second essay, I investigate the determinants of donations to charitable organizations by incorporating their managerial capacity and fundraising productivity. Using data from environmental charities, I find that managerial capacity has a significantly positive impact on raising donations, which demonstrates the long-run benefits of managerial expenses. Fundraising productivity is a charity-specific and serially-correlated unobserved variable that causes an endogeneity problem in the estimation of the donation function. After controlling for the fundraising productivity, the estimated impact from managerial capacity on donations is significantly increased, while the impact from fundraising expenditure is significantly decreased. Finally, after estimating the donation function, I construct a measure of fundraising productivity and show that it is a key factor in explaining the variation of donations, suggesting that policy discussions should account for charities' differences in fundraising productivity and the causes of such differences.


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Item Type: University of Pittsburgh ETD
Status: Unpublished
CreatorsEmailPitt UsernameORCID
Zhang, Jipengjiz44@pitt.eduJIZ44
ETD Committee:
TitleMemberEmail AddressPitt UsernameORCID
Committee ChairRichard, Jean-Francoisfantin@pitt.eduFANTIN
Committee MemberEpple,
Committee MemberSieg,
Committee MemberVesterlund, Lisevester@pitt.eduVESTER
Committee MemberWalsh, Randallwalshr@pitt.eduWALSHR
Date: 30 September 2011
Date Type: Completion
Defense Date: 18 July 2011
Approval Date: 30 September 2011
Submission Date: 18 July 2011
Access Restriction: 5 year -- Restrict access to University of Pittsburgh for a period of 5 years.
Institution: University of Pittsburgh
Schools and Programs: Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences > Economics
Degree: PhD - Doctor of Philosophy
Thesis Type: Doctoral Dissertation
Refereed: Yes
Uncontrolled Keywords: charitable giving; demand estimation; fundraising; voluntary public goods provision
Other ID:, etd-07182011-144742
Date Deposited: 10 Nov 2011 19:52
Last Modified: 15 Nov 2016 13:46


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