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The impact of tax exclusive and inclusive prices on demand

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  • Naomi E. Feldman
  • Bradley J. Ruffle

Abstract

We test the equivalence of tax-inclusive and tax-exclusive prices through a series of experiments that differ only in their handling of the tax. Subjects receive a cash budget and decide how much to keep and how much to spend on various attractively priced goods. Subjects spend significantly more when faced with tax-exclusive prices. This treatment effect is robust to different price levels, to initial shopping-cart purchases and persists throughout most of the ten rounds. A goods-level analysis, intra-round revisions as well as results from a third tax-deduction treatment all cast doubt on salience as the source of our findings.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.) in its series Finance and Economics Discussion Series with number 2012-50.

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Date of creation: 2012
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Handle: RePEc:fip:fedgfe:2012-50

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  1. Jacob Goldin, 2012. "Optimal Tax Salience," Working Papers 1385, Princeton University, Department of Economics, Industrial Relations Section..
  2. Tanjim Hossain & John Morgan, 2006. "...plus shipping and handling: Revenue (non) equivalence in field experiments on ebay," Natural Field Experiments 00270, The Field Experiments Website.
  3. Laibson, David I. & Gabaix, Xavier, 2006. "Shrouded Attributes, Consumer Myopia, and Information Suppression in Competitive Markets," Scholarly Articles 4554333, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  4. Blumkin, Tomer & Ruffle, Bradley J. & Ganun, Yosef, 2012. "Are income and consumption taxes ever really equivalent? Evidence from a real-effort experiment with real goods," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 56(6), pages 1200-1219.
  5. Richard H. Thaler, 2008. "Mental Accounting and Consumer Choice," Marketing Science, INFORMS, vol. 27(1), pages 15-25, 01-02.
  6. KalaycI, Kenan & Potters, Jan, 2011. "Buyer confusion and market prices," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 29(1), pages 14-22, January.
  7. Raj Chetty & Adam Looney & Kory Kroft, 2009. "Salience and Taxation: Theory and Evidence," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 99(4), pages 1145-77, September.
  8. Jacob Goldin & Tatiana Homonoff, 2013. "Smoke Gets in Your Eyes: Cigarette Tax Salience and Regressivity," American Economic Journal: Economic Policy, American Economic Association, vol. 5(1), pages 302-36, February.
  9. Amy Finkelstein, 2009. "E-ZTAX: Tax Salience and Tax Rates," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 124(3), pages 969-1010, August.
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Cited by:
  1. Abeler, Johannes & Jäger, Simon, 2013. "Complex Tax Incentives: An Experimental Investigation," IZA Discussion Papers 7373, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  2. Ackermann, Hagen & Fochmann, Martin, 2014. "The effect of straight-line and accelerated depreciation rules on risky investment decisions: An experimental study," arqus Discussion Papers in Quantitative Tax Research 158, arqus - Arbeitskreis Quantitative Steuerlehre.

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