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Giving to government: Voluntary taxation in the lab

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  • Li, Sherry Xin
  • Eckel, Catherine C.
  • Grossman, Philip J.
  • Brown, Tara Larson

Abstract

In the U.S., widespread complaints that taxes are too high exist alongside substantial voluntary donations to private charities whose missions parallel those of government agencies. We employ a "real donation" experiment to compare giving to government agencies and private charities with similar missions, for four different causes (Cancer Research, Disaster Relief, Education Enhancement, Parks and Wildlife) at three levels (national, state, and local). We find that individuals will give to government, paying voluntary taxes to support specific functions. Donations average 22% of an endowment to government, significantly lower than the 27% to private charities. The difference is influenced by cause, level, and perceptions of effectiveness and efficiency, as well as individual characteristics such as income and political affiliation.

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Journal of Public Economics.

Volume (Year): 95 (2011)
Issue (Month): 9 ()
Pages: 1190-1201

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Handle: RePEc:eee:pubeco:v:95:y:2011:i:9:p:1190-1201

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Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/inca/505578

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Keywords: Charitable giving; Voluntary taxation; Lab experiment;

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Cited by:
  1. Philip J. Grossman & Mana Komai & James E. Jensen, 2012. "Leadership and Gender in Groups: An Experiment," Development Research Unit Working Paper Series 42-12, Monash University, Department of Economics.
  2. Djawadi, Behnud Mir & Fahr, René, 2013. "The Impact of Tax Knowledge and Budget Spending Influence on Tax Compliance," IZA Discussion Papers 7255, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  3. Möhlmann, Axel, 2013. "Investor home bias and sentiment about the country benefiting from the tax revenue," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 35(C), pages 31-46.
  4. Kurt A. Ackermann & Eva Fleiß & Jürgen Fleiß & Ryan O. Murphy & Alfred Posch, 2014. "Save the planet for humans’ sake: The relation between social and environmental value orientations," Working Paper Series, Social and Economic Sciences 2014-02, Faculty of Social and Economic Sciences, Karl-Franzens-University Graz.
  5. Banuri, Sheheryar & Keefer, Philip, 2013. "Intrinsic motivation, effort and the call to public service," Policy Research Working Paper Series 6729, The World Bank.
  6. Добролюбова Е. И., 2013. "Как Децентрализация Влияет На Эффективность И Результативность Бюджетных Расходов: Оценка Исполнения Делег," Вопросы государственного и муниципального управления // Public administration issues, НИУ ВШЭ, issue 4, pages 99-112.
  7. Philip J. Grossman & Catherine C. Eckel, 2012. "Giving versus Taking: A “Real Donation” Comparison of Warm Glow and Cold Prickle," Development Research Unit Working Paper Series 40-12, Monash University, Department of Economics.
  8. E. Dobrolyubova, 2013. "How decentralization affects efficiency and effectiveness of public expenditures: review of execution of delegated powers," Public administration issues, Higher School of Economics, issue 4, pages 99-112.
  9. Abbiati, Lorenzo & Antinyan, Armenak & Corazzini, Luca, 2014. "Are taxes beautiful? A survey experiment on information, tax choice and perceived adequacy of the tax burden," IWQW Discussion Paper Series 02/2014, Friedrich-Alexander-Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg, Institut für Wirtschaftspolitik und Quantitative Wirtschaftsforschung (IWQW).
  10. Pickhardt, Michael & Prinz, Aloys, 2014. "Behavioral dynamics of tax evasion – A survey," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 40(C), pages 1-19.
  11. Philip J. Grossman & Catherine C. Eckel, 2012. "Giving versus Taking: A “Real Donation” Comparison of Warm Glow and Cold Prickle in a Context-Rich Environment," Development Research Unit Working Paper Series 20-12, Monash University, Department of Economics.
  12. Emily Skarbek, 2014. "The Chicago Fire of 1871: a bottom-up approach to disaster relief," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 160(1), pages 155-180, July.

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