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Essays on Finance, the Environment, and Philanthropy


This dissertation examines environmental impacts on economic activity and

finance issues for private philanthropic foundations that might want to fund environmental efforts. The first chapter examines the effects of weather on retail activity using the lasso machine learning method to develop a flexible weather index. The second chapter presents a theoretical model showing that large investments in objectionable firms can be optimal for foundations when they yield opportunities to hedge missions. The third chapter examines tax return data for private foundations to explore intertemporal spending strategies and the tax on net investment income.

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