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

  • Raj Chetty
  • Emmanuel Saez

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)

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Article provided by American Economic Association in its journal American Economic Journal: Applied Economics.

Volume (Year): 5 (2013)
Issue (Month): 1 (January)
Pages: 1-31

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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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  1. Marianne Bitler & Jonah Gelbach & Hilary Hoynes, 2003. "What Mean Impacts Miss: Distributional Effects of Welfare Reform Experiments," NBER Working Papers 10121, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Duflo, Esther & Gale, William & Liebman, Jeff & Orszag, Peter & Saez, Emmanuel, 2005. "Saving Incentives for Low- and Middle-Income Families: Evidence from a Field Experiment with H&R Block," CEPR Discussion Papers 5332, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
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  8. Esther Duflo & Emmanuel Saez, 2002. "The Role of Information and Social Interactions in Retirement Plan Decisions: Evidence from a Randomized Experiment," NBER Working Papers 8885, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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  11. Hilary W. Hoynes & Nada Elissa, 2005. "Behavioral Responses to Taxes:Lessons from the EITC and Labor Supply," Working Papers 529, University of California, Davis, Department of Economics.
  12. Eissa, Nada & Liebman, Jeffrey B, 1996. "Labor Supply Response to the Earned Income Tax Credit," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 111(2), pages 605-37, May.
  13. Jonah E. Rockoff, 2004. "The Impact of Individual Teachers on Student Achievement: Evidence from Panel Data," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 94(2), pages 247-252, May.
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