Under the initiative, University of Chicago researchers will collaborate with scholars from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, Georgia State University, Brown University, and the University of Minnesota to study why people give, how they give across life cycles and in different cultures, and how philanthropy can be increased, in the United States and around the globe. To help foster innovative partnerships among social scientists, charitable organizations, individual donors, and policy makers, SPI also will host an annual conference, speaker and webinar series, and a competitive small grants program.
The study will be led by co-principal investigators John List, the Homer J. Livingston Professor and chair of Economics at Chicago and director of the initiative, and Anya Samak, assistant professor of consumer science and economics at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, as well as co-investigator Jean Decety, Irving B. Harris Professor in Psychology and Psychiatry at Chicago, who studies the development of empathy, morality, and pro-social behavior across cultures.
"The generous grant from the Templeton Foundation allows researchers around the world to develop an in-depth understanding of the underlying motives for charitable giving that will allow us to advance new strategies for soliciting gifts, improve donors' well-being, and increase giving," said List. "As governmental bodies reduce funding to social service agencies and other worthy organizations, philanthropy will become increasingly important in maintaining these vital services."