A study by economists at the University of Southampton suggests that billionaires who have built their own fortunes are more likely to pledge to donate a large portion of their wealth to charities, than those who are heirs to family fortunes.
The researchers examined written testaments of wealthy philanthropists who have signed up to The Giving Pledge, a venture which encourages billionaires to donate at least half of their wealth to charitable causes. It was launched in 2010 by Warren Buffet and Bill and Melinda Gates.
One of the researchers on the Southampton project, Dr Mirco Tonin, says: “The written testaments of pledgers give us a fascinating insight into the philanthropic motivations of the extremely rich. They provide a unique window on a relatively small group of people who are key to the promotion of charitable causes.”