Monday, July 09, 2007
Alumni give to universities to get their kids admitted. - By Joel Waldfogel - Slate Magazine: "Charitable giving is a puzzle to cynics and economists who believe only in selfish motivations. Why would people give money to strangers while expecting nothing in return? While some giving is clearly altruistic—witness the outpourings of generosity after 9/11, Katrina, and the Asian tsunami—other charitable giving seems less so. If you are giving out of a concern for others, it's clear why you might want to give alms for the poor: The dollar can buy him a lot more happiness than it will buy you. But what's altruistic about giving more money to a wealthy institution of higher education? Harvard's endowment is nearly $30 billion. Yet alumni and others gave the institution $595 million in 2006, which amounts to a fifth of its annual budget. Why do alumni give?"