Journal of Business Ethics:1-24 (forthcoming)

Erica Harris
Upper Iowa University
Prior work shows that capital market participants including investors, analysts, and managers are all impacted by the prevailing level of investor sentiment. We extend this line of work by investigating whether the effects of sentiment spill over into the nonprofit sector by affecting donors’ spending to support moral causes. While donors are driven by ethical, altruistic, and other utility-maximizing motives, it is unclear whether behavioral biases stemming from sentiment would influence donors’ decisions to give. We shed light on this issue using a large industry-diverse panel of over 115 thousand organization-years from 2008 to 2016. Results indicate that nonprofit organizations receive less in stock-based donations and more in cash-based donations during periods of high investor sentiment. Our inquiry separately considers cash and stock-based donations because we expect, and find, that market-related sentiment impacts these types of contributions differently. Moreover, we find that these effects are stronger for organizations with large donors, who are more closely tied to the capital markets, and therefore more susceptible to investor sentiment, as well as charitable organizations, consistent with “tug-at-the-heartstrings” type appeals inducing more emotional donation response. Taken together, the results suggest that market-wide investor sentiment impacts nonprofit organizations and the effects vary in the cross-section.
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DOI 10.1007/s10551-020-04646-7
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Utilitarianism: For and Against.J. J. C. Smart & Bernard Williams - 1973 - Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Effective Altruism and its Critics.Iason Gabriel - 2016 - Journal of Applied Philosophy 33 (3).
Effective Altruism and its Critics.Iason Gabriel - 2017 - Journal of Applied Philosophy 34 (4):457-473.

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