Eleanor P. Brown

James Irvine Professor of Economics
With Pomona Since: 1986
  • Expertise


    Eleanor Brown is an applied microeconomist who focuses on resource allocation in the absence of profit-maximizing behavior, through private philanthropy, volunteer labor, government, nonprofit organizations and within the family. A past president of the Association for the Study of Generosity in Economics, she is a co-editor of Review of Economics of the Household and a member of the advisory boards of the National Center on Nonprofit Enterprise, the Society for the Economics of the Household, and the Women's Philanthropy Institute.

    Research Interests

    • Personal philanthropy
    • Tax policy
    • The market for volunteer labor
    • Not-for-profit organizations

    Areas of Expertise


    • Federal Tax Policy


    • Personal Philanthropy
    • The Market for Volunteer Labor
    • Not-for-Profit Organizations
  • Work


    with Debra Mesch and Amir Hayat, “Life Expectancy and the Search for a Bag Lady Effect in Charitable Giving,” Nonprofit and Voluntary Sector Quarterly, 45:3 (June 2016), 630-645.

    with Christopher Einolf and Mark Ottoni-Wilhelm, “Giving in the United States: Generous Philanthropy in a Classic Liberal Regime,” chapter 4 in Femida Handy and Pamala Weipking, eds., The Palgrave Handbook of Global Philanthropy, Palgrave McMillan, 2015, pages 44-63.

    with Robert Prag, “Zombification Insurance,” chapter 9 in Glen Whitman and James Dow, eds., Economics of the Undead: Zombies, Vampires, and the Dismal Science, Rowman & Littlefield, 2014, 89-97.

    with Ye Zhang, “Is Volunteer Labor Part of Household Production? Evidence from Married Couples,” Review of Economics of the Household, 11:3 (September 2013), 341-369.

    with David Martin ’10, “Individual Giving and Volunteering,” chapter 13 in Lester Salamon, ed., The State of Nonprofit America, second edition. Brookings Institution Press, 2012.

    “Markets with Competition between For-Profit and Nonprofit Firms,” in Bruce Seaman and Dennis Young, eds., Handbook of Research on Nonprofit Economics and Management, Edward Elgar, 2010.

    with Kaitlyn Caughlin ’07, “Donors, Ideologues, and Bureaucrats: Government Objectives and the Performance of the Nonprofit Sector,” Financial Accountability & Management, 25:1 (February 2009), pp. 99-114.

    with Mark Wilhelm, Patrick Rooney, and Richard Steinberg, “The Intergenerational Transmission of Generosity,” Journal of Public Economics, 92:10-11 (October 2008), 2146-2156.

    with Rosanna Smart ’08, “Racial Differences in Civic Participation and Charitable Giving: The Confounding Effects of Educational Attainment and Unmeasured Ability,” Review of Black Political Economy, vol. 34 nos 3-4 (December 2007), 259-271.

    with Patrick Rooney and Debra Mesch. “Who Decides in Giving to Education? A Study of Charitable Giving by Married Couples,” International Journal of Educational Advancement, vol. 7 no. 3 (2007), 229-242.

  • Education


    Ph.D., Economics
    Princeton University

    Master of Arts, Economics
    Princeton University

    Bachelor of Arts, Economics
    Pomona College

    Recent Courses Taught

    • Economics of Gender & the Family
    • Economics of the Public Sector
    • Independent Study: Economics
    • Microeconomic Theory
    • Freedom, Markets, & Well-Being
    • Philosophy/Politics/Econ Senior Exercise
  • Awards & Honors

    Awards & Honors

    Pomona College, Wig Distinguished Professorship Award for Excellence in Teaching, 1989, 1994, 1999, 2004, 2009 & 2014

    Association for Research on Nonprofit Organizations and Voluntary Action. Award for best article of 2007 in Nonprofit and Voluntary Sector Quarterly, With J.M. Ferris, "Social Capital and Philanthropy: An Analysis of the Impact of Social Capital on Individual Giving and Volunteering," 36 Nonprofit and Voluntary Sector Quarterly 1, 85-89, March 2007

    Fetzer Institute, Grant, "The Impacts of Religious, Intellectual, and Civic Engagement on Altruistic Love and Compassionate Love as Expressed through Charitable Behaviors," 2002-03

    John Randolph and Dora Haynes Foundation, Grant, with James Ferris, "Philanthropy and Social Capital in Los Angeles," 2001-02