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The Impact of Tax Reform on Charitable Giving: A 1989 Perspective

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  • Charles T. Clotfelter

Abstract

The purpose of this paper is to examine the predicted effects of tax reform in the 1980s (the tax acts of 1981 and 1986) on charitable contributions by individuals and to compare them to the actual and apparent effects, viewed from the perspective of 1989. The paper discusses what the economic models can and cannot be expected to do. Then, using published data from tax returns, the paper compares actual and predicted changes in giving as a result of both of the major tax reform acts. The paper concludes that the changes in contributions are quite consistent with the economic model of giving. As a result of these tax changes, average giving in high income classes declined. These results imply that tax policy should continue to be considered one important determinant of the level of individual charitable contributions.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 3273.

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Date of creation: Mar 1990
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Publication status: published as Do Taxes Matter?, Slemrod, Joel, ed., Cambridge: MIT Press, 1990.
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:3273

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  1. Slemrod, Joel, 1989. "Are Estimated Tax Elasticities Really Just Tax Evasion Elasticities? The Case of Charitable Contributions," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 71(3), pages 517-22, August.
  2. Feldstein, Martin S & Taylor, Amy, 1976. "The Income Tax and Charitable Contributions," Econometrica, Econometric Society, Econometric Society, vol. 44(6), pages 1201-22, November.
  3. Glenday, Graham & Gupta, Anil K & Pawlak, Henry, 1986. "Tax Incentives for Personal Charitable Contributions," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 68(4), pages 688-93, November.
  4. Don Fullerton, 1990. "Tax Policy Toward Art Museums," NBER Working Papers 3379, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. Charles T. Clotfelter, 1985. "The effect of tax simplification on educational and charitable organizations," Conference Series ; [Proceedings], Federal Reserve Bank of Boston, vol. 29, pages 187-221.
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Cited by:
  1. de Bartolome, Charles A.M., 1991. "Which Tax Rate Do People Use: Average or Marginal?," Working Papers, C.V. Starr Center for Applied Economics, New York University 91-49, C.V. Starr Center for Applied Economics, New York University.
  2. Baris Yoruk, 2013. "Are Generous People More Likely to Vote?," Discussion Papers 13-10, University at Albany, SUNY, Department of Economics.
  3. Neslihan Uler, 2011. "Public goods provision, inequality and taxes," Experimental Economics, Springer, vol. 14(3), pages 287-306, September.
  4. Baris Yoruk, 2013. "Do Charitable Subsidies Crowd Out Political Giving? The Missing Link Between Charitable and Political Contributions," Discussion Papers 13-09, University at Albany, SUNY, Department of Economics.
  5. Baris Yoruk, 2012. "The impact of charitable subsidies on religious giving and attendance: Evidence from panel data," Discussion Papers 12-06, University at Albany, SUNY, Department of Economics.
  6. Cordes, Joseph J., 2011. "Re-Thinking The Deduction For Charitable Contributions: Evaluating The Effects Of Deficit-Reduction Proposals," National Tax Journal, National Tax Association, vol. 64(4), pages 1001-24, December.
  7. Uler, Neslihan, 2009. "Public goods provision and redistributive taxation," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 93(3-4), pages 440-453, April.

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