Photo of Calum M. Carmichael

Calum M. Carmichael

Tax treatment of philanthropy; legal definition of charity; political finance

Office:5206 Richcraft Hall

Associate Professor

BA in Economics and Political Science (Western University, Canada)
MPA in Economics and Public Policy (Princeton University, United States)
PhD in Economics (Princeton University, United States)

Calum’s research has touched on several policy areas, including trade and monetary policy.  Most recently, it has focused on ways in which governments do or could encourage and regulate the financial contributions that individuals make to charitable, non-profit and political organizations.  

I think of economics as a way to interpret human behaviour – one that conceives of behaviour as consisting primarily of purposeful but constrained choice. As such, I have found economics to be a great investigative tool, enabling me to examine practices of governments in past or present-day settings, and to sort out what might have been the reasons for those practices, as well as their consequences. Economics has also proved to be a creative tool, introducing me to different issues, different institutions or time periods; and challenging me to come up with models of interactive human behaviour that are simple in the sense of being able to generate certain hypotheses and results, but that are not simplistic in the sense of still being able to capture key aspects of the settings at hand – whether those settings involve funding the navy in classical Athens, or defining the bounds of charity in Tudor England, or lowering the tax credits for contributions to religious organizations, or disclosing the identities of donors to political parties.

Selected recent publications and funded research

“The fiscal treatment of philanthropy from a comparative perspective,” in J. Harrow, T. Jung, and S. Phillips, eds, The Routledge Companion to Philanthropy, London: Routledge, 2016.

“Sweet and Not-So-Sweet Charity: A Case for Subsidizing Contributions to Different Charities Differently,” Public Finance Review (May 2012).

Dispensing charity: the deficiencies of an all-or-nothing fiscal concept,” Voluntas (No 2 2012).

“Charity Misplaced: the Formation in Common Law of a Deficient Fiscal Concept,” Charity Law & Practice Review (Spring 2011).

Doing good better?  The differential subsidization of charitable contributions,” Policy and Society (August 2010).

Recent teaching

PADM 5218 Macroeconomics for Policy Analysis

PANL 5001 Foundations of Philanthropy

PADM 5417 Principles of Finance

PADM 5225 Trade Policy