Are Millennials Really So Selfish? Preliminary Evidence from the Philanthropy Panel Study

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May 2019
Paper author(s): 
Peter Koczanski
Harvey S. Rosen
Demographic Economics - Migration

We use panel data on charitable donations to analyze how the philanthropic behavior of the Millennials (born between 1981 and 1996) compares to that of earlier generations. On the basis of a multivariate analysis with a rich set of economic and demographic variables, we find that conditional on making a gift, one cannot reject the hypothesis that the Millennials donate more than members of earlier generations. However, Millennials are somewhat less likely to make any donations at all than their generational predecessors. Our findings suggest a more nuanced view of the Millennials’ prosocial behavior than is suggested in popular accounts.


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