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Do Tax Incentives Affect Charitable Contributions? Evidence from Public Charities’ Reported Revenues

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  • Nicolas J. Duquette

Abstract

This paper estimates the effect of the charitable contribution deduction on public charities' donation revenue. The effect is identified by exploiting variation in the change in tax incentives across US states following the federal Tax Reform Act of 1986. At the margin, a one percent increase in the tax cost of giving causes charitable receipts to fall by about four percent, a larger effect than has usually been found in the literature using household data. This result does not reflect intertemporal substitution and is robust to a variety of checks. Further analysis reveals that the effect is stronger for some sectors, notably health charities, and is driven by upper-income households. Tax reform proposals limiting upper-income households' charitable contribution deduction would sharply reduce some charities' contribution revenue.

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Paper provided by Job Market Papers in its series 2013 Papers with number pdu359.

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Date of creation: 09 Dec 2013
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Handle: RePEc:jmp:jm2013:pdu359

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  1. Dean Karlan & John A. List, 2007. "Does Price Matter in Charitable Giving? Evidence from a Large-Scale Natural Field Experiment," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 97(5), pages 1774-1793, December.
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  12. Konow, James, 2010. "Mixed feelings: Theories of and evidence on giving," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 94(3-4), pages 279-297, April.
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