Anup Malani: "On Corporate Philanthropy"

Much of current scholarship views corporate philanthropy as managerial waste or profiteering. In this talk, Professor Malani argues that both views are correct, and incomplete. Corporate philanthropy is the corporation’s entry into the market for private financing of public goods, also called the production of “warm glow.” This market was previously dominated by non-profit charities and the government. The feature that distinguishes corporate production of warm glow from other goods is that the corporation’s shareholders and workers are also its consumers. (Would you rather own or work for Google or Altria?) The key choices for the consumers of warm glow are whether to purchase from corporations or their competitors, and whether to do this via ownership, employment or product purchase. The talk will discuss the competitive advantage of corporations over charities and the government, and the importance of tax law in determining how consumers purchase warm glow from corporations.

Anup Malani is Professor of Law and Aaron Director Research Scholar at the University of Chicago Law School. This talk was recorded January 16, 2008 as part of the Chicago's Best Ideas Lecture Series.

© 2008 The University of Chicago.