Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Philanthropy and the Rich

The Bank of America reports on charitable giving among high-wealth individuals.

When asked how their giving would respond to a repeal of the estate tax, 5.5 percent say it would decrease, and 29.5 percent say it would increase. (See Figure 21.) This result is inconsistent with the conventional wisdom (as expressed in this CBO study, for instance) that estate-tax repeal would discourage philanthropy.

Either the conventional wisdom is wrong, or it is a bad idea to ask people how they would respond to hypothetical situations, or maybe both.