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Steven Shavell, An Economic Analysis of Altruism and Deferred Gifts, 20 J. Legal Stud. 401 (1991).

Abstract: The purpose of this article is to provide a theory of the deferred giving of gifts by altruistic donors.' In particular, I address the following questions. First, why do altruistic donors frequently wish to defer giving gifts? (If they wish to give gifts, why do they not do so immediately?) Second, presuming that they wish to defer giving gifts, why do altruistic donors often announce their intentions to donees in advance? Third, why do such donors sometimes desire to be legally bound to give gifts? Fourth, what are the effects of a legal rule that renders donors bound to give gifts if they state their intentions and donees rely on their statements? In Section I, I consider these questions using a model of donor and donee behavior that I analyze formally in Section II. In Section III, I offer several concluding observation