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Teaching the Tax Code: Earnings Responses to an Experiment with EITC Recipients

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  • Raj Chetty
  • Emmanuel Saez

Abstract

We conducted a randomized experiment with 43,000 EITC recipients at H&R Block. Tax preparers gave simple, personalized information about the EITC schedule to half of their clients. We find no significant effects of information provision on earnings in the subsequent year in the full sample. Further exploration uncovers evidence of heterogeneous treatment effects on both self-employment income and wage earnings across the 1,461 tax preparers involved in the experiment. Providing information about tax incentives does not systematically effect earnings on average. However, tax preparers may influence their clients' earnings decisions by providing advice about how to respond to tax incentives. (JEL H23, H24, H26, J23, J31)

Suggested Citation

  • Raj Chetty & Emmanuel Saez, 2013. "Teaching the Tax Code: Earnings Responses to an Experiment with EITC Recipients," American Economic Journal: Applied Economics, American Economic Association, vol. 5(1), pages 1-31, January.
  • Handle: RePEc:aea:aejapp:v:5:y:2013:i:1:p:1-31
    Note: DOI: 10.1257/app.5.1.1
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • H23 - Public Economics - - Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue - - - Externalities; Redistributive Effects; Environmental Taxes and Subsidies
    • H24 - Public Economics - - Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue - - - Personal Income and Other Nonbusiness Taxes and Subsidies
    • H26 - Public Economics - - Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue - - - Tax Evasion and Avoidance
    • J23 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Labor Demand
    • J31 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Wages, Compensation, and Labor Costs - - - Wage Level and Structure; Wage Differentials

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    1. Teaching the Tax Code: Earnings Responses to an Experiment with EITC Recipients (American Economic Journal: Applied Economics 2013) in ReplicationWiki

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