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We use data on the locations of the head offices of publicly traded U.S. firms to study the impact of corporate headquarters on the receipts of local charitable organizations. Cities like Houston, San Jose, and San Francisco gained significant numbers of corporate headquarters over the past two decades, while cities like Chicago and Los Angeles lost. Our analysis suggests that attracting or retaining the headquarters of an average firm yields approximately $10 million per year in contributions to local non-profits, while the headquarters of a larger firm (one ranked among the top 1000 in total market value) yields about $25 million per year. Likewise, we find that each $1000 increase in the market value of the firms headquartered in a city yields 70 cents or more to local non-profits. Most of the increase in charitable contributions arises from an effect on the number of highly-compensated individuals in a city, rather than through direct donations by the corporations themselves.


Card, D., Hallock, K. F., & Moretti, E. (2008). The geography of giving: The effect of corporate headquarters on local charities (CAHRS Working Paper #08-08). Ithaca, NY: Cornell University, School of Industrial and Labor Relations, Center for Advanced Human Resource Studies.