Mark Ottoni-Wilhelm

Professor, Department of Economics, IUPUI; Affiliate Faculty Member, Lilly Family School of Philanthropy

Mark Ottoni-Wilhelm
425 University Boulevard
Indianapolis, IN


  • Ph.D., Economics, 1990, New York University
  • M.S.E., Electrical Engineering, 1980, University of Michigan
  • B.E.S., Electrical Engineering, 1979, Johns Hopkins University


Mark Ottoni-Wilhelm is professor of economics at Indiana University Purdue University–Indianapolis (IUPUI) and professor of philanthropic studies at the Indiana University Lilly Family School of Philanthropy. He conducts empirical research on prosocial behavior. He has published articles about altruistic motivation behind voluntarily giving money, the intergenerational transmission of generosity, experiences of family instability/low income during adolescence and subsequent giving/volunteering in young adulthood, empathic concern and moral principles as correlates of prosocial behavior, and the relationship between religious affiliation and giving to organizations that help people in need.

Ottoni-Wilhelm was the founding director of the ongoing Philanthropy Panel Study (PPS), the generosity module in the United States’ Panel Study of Income Dynamics. Since 2001 the PPS has generated the United States’ authoritative family-level data on charitable giving. Ottoni-Wilhelm continues to provide scientific support to the PPS, and makes user-friendly data files and user guides freely available. He has also led the design of generosity modules that are included in the American National Election Study 2008-2009 Panel, the National Study of American Jewish Giving, and the National Study of American Religious Giving.

Courses Taught

  • Econ 573 Single Equation Econometric Models
  • Econ 577 Computer Methods and Data Analysis


  • “Giving in the United States: Generous Philanthropy in a Classic Liberal Tradition.” Forthcoming 2015. (with Eleanor Brown and Christopher J. Einolf).
  • New Research on Women, Religion and Giving. (2014). (with Debra Mesch, Una Osili, Amir D. Hayat, and Andrea Pactor).
  • “Role-modeling and Conversation about Giving in the Socialization of Adolescent Charitable Giving and Volunteering.” (2014). (with David Estell and Neil Perdue).
  • Connected to Give: Faith Communities. Findings from the National Study of American Religious Giving. (2013). (with Melanie A. McKitrick, J. Shawn Landres, and Amir D. Hayat).
  • “Stage-Specific Family Structure Models: Implicit Parameter Restrictions and Bayesian Model Comparison with an Application to Prosocial Behavior.” (2013) (with Robert Bandy).
  • “Family Structure and Income During Childhood and Subsequent Prosocial Behavior by Young Adults.” (2012) (with Robert Bandy).
  • “Giving to Organizations that Help People in Need: Differences Across Denominational Identities.” (2010).
  • “Does Jewish Giving Differ by Sex and Type of Giving?” (2010) (with Debra J. Mesch and Zach Moore).
  • “Helping Behavior, Dispositional Empathic Concern, and the Principle of Care.” (March 2010) (with René Bekkers).
  • “The Intergenerational Transmission of Generosity.” (2008) (with Eleanor Brown, Patrick M. Rooney, and Richard Steinberg).
  • “Practical Considerations for Choosing Between Tobit and SCLS or CLAD Estimators for Censored Regression Models with an Application to Charitable Giving.” (2008).
  • “Changes in Religious Giving Reflect Changes in Involvement: Age and Cohort Effects in Religious Giving, Secular Giving, and Attendance.”(2007) (with Patrick Rooney and Eugene Tempel).
  • “The Quality and Comparability of Survey Data on Charitable Giving.&#8221 (2007).
  • “New Data on Charitable Giving in the PSID.” (2006)
  • “Exchange, Role Modeling and the Intergenerational Transmission of Elder Support Attitudes: Evidence from Three Generations of Mexican-Americans.” (2006) (with David C. Ribar).
  • “Religious and Secular Giving, By Race and Ethnicity.” (2005): 57-66.
  • “Estimating Charitable Deductions in Giving USA.” (2003) (with Partha Deb, Patrick Rooney and Melissa Brown).
  • “Tracking Giving Across Generations.” (2003) (with Richard Steinberg).
  • “Income Mobility, Inequality and Social Welfare.” Australian Economic Papers (2002) (with John Creedy).
  • “Altruistic and Joy-of-Giving Motivations in Charitable Behavior.” (2002) (with David C. Ribar).

Current Projects

  • “What is the Price Elasticity of Charitable Giving? Estimating (Un) Compensated Elasticities from a Tax-Credit Kink.” Mimeo, IUPUI (February 2015), with Daniel Hungerman.
  • “Why Do People Give? Testing Pure and Impure Altruism.” NBER Working Paper 20497 (September 2014), with Lise Vesterlund and Huan Xie.
  • “Altruism, Egoism, and Generosity: Bridging Experimental Designs from Economics and Psychology.” Mimeo, IUPUI (December 2014), with Lise Vesterlund.
  • “Principle of Care and Giving to Help People in Need.” Mimeo, IUPUI (December 2014), with René Bekkers.
  • “Raising Charitable Children: The Effects of Verbal Socialization and Role-modeling on Children’s Giving.” Mimeo IUPUI (December 2014), with Ye Zhang, David Estell and Neil Perdue.
  • “Tax Effects on Giving Estimated with the PSID.” Mimeo, IUPUI (January 2014), with Daniel Hungerman.
  • “Origins of the gradient between altruistic preferences and income: Parental motives to socialize the altruistic preferences of their children,” with Ye Zhang.
  • “Generosity for Life: The Science and Imagination of Living Generously,” with Una Osili.
  • “Altruism, Warm Glow, and Generosity: A National Experiment,” with René Bekkers and David Verkaik.

Honors & Awards

  • 2014–2015. Eileen Lamb O’Gara Visiting Chair in Women’s Philanthropy at the Indiana University Lilly Family School of Philanthropy.