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The Price Elasticity of Charitable Giving:Does the Form of Tax Relief Matter?

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  • Scharf, Kim; Smith, Sarah

    (University of Warwick; University of Bristol)

Abstract

This paper uses a survey-based approach to test alternative methods of channeling tax relief to donors – as a tax rebate for the donor or as a matched payment to the receiving charity. On accounting grounds these two are equivalent but, in line with earlier experimental studies, we find that gross donations are significantly more responsive to a match change than to a rebate change. We show that the difference can largely be explained by the fact that a majority of donors do not adjust their nominal donations in response to a change in subsidy. This evidence adds to the growing empirical literature suggesting that consumers may not react to tax changes. In the case of tax subsidies for donations, this has implications for policy design – for the UK a match-based system is likely to be more effective at increasing money going to charities.

Suggested Citation

  • Scharf, Kim; Smith, Sarah, 2010. "The Price Elasticity of Charitable Giving:Does the Form of Tax Relief Matter?," CAGE Online Working Paper Series 03, Competitive Advantage in the Global Economy (CAGE).
  • Handle: RePEc:cge:wacage:03
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    Cited by:

    1. Giovanniello, Monica A. & Perroni, Carlo & Scharf, Kimberley & Slivinski, Al, 2019. "Non-discriminatory donation relief and strategic commitment under political competition," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 58(C), pages 164-177.
    2. Lapointe, Simon & Perroni, Carlo & Scharf, Kimberley & Tukiainen, Janne, 2018. "Does market size matter for charities?," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 168(C), pages 127-145.
    3. Peter G. Backus & Nicky L. Grant, 2019. "How sensitive is the average taxpayer to changes in the tax-price of giving?," International Tax and Public Finance, Springer;International Institute of Public Finance, vol. 26(2), pages 317-356, April.
    4. Joerg Paetzold, 2019. "How do taxpayers respond to a large kink? Evidence on earnings and deduction behavior from Austria," International Tax and Public Finance, Springer;International Institute of Public Finance, vol. 26(1), pages 167-197, February.
    5. Almunia, Miguel & Guceri, Irem & Lockwood, Ben & Scharf, Kimberley, 2020. "More giving or more givers? The effects of tax incentives on charitable donations in the UK," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 183(C).
    6. Peter Backus & Nicky Grant, 2016. "Consistent Estimation of the Tax-Price Elasticity of Charitable Giving with Survey Data," Economics Discussion Paper Series 1606, Economics, The University of Manchester.
    7. Yamamura, Eiji & Tsutsui, Yoshiro & Ohtake, Fumio, 2018. "Altruistic and selfish motivations of charitable giving: The case of the hometown tax donation system (Furusato nozei) in Japan," MPRA Paper 86181, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    8. Gandullia, Luca & Lezzi, Emanuela, 2018. "The price elasticity of charitable giving: New experimental evidence," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 173(C), pages 88-91.
    9. John A. List & James J. Murphy & Michael K. Price & Alexander G. James, 2019. "Do Appeals to Donor Benefits Raise More Money than Appeals to Recipient Benefits? Evidence from a Natural Field Experiment with Pick.Click.Give," NBER Working Papers 26559, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    10. Almunia, Miguel & Guceri, Irem & Lockwood, Ben & Scharf, Kimberley, 2020. "More giving or more givers? The effects of tax incentives on charitable donations in the UK," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 183(C).
    11. Scharf, Kimberley & Smith, Sarah L., 2010. "Rational Inattention to Subsidies for Charitable Contributions," CEPR Discussion Papers 7760, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    12. James Alm & Daniel Teles, 2018. "State and federal tax policy toward nonprofit organizations," Chapters, in: Bruce A. Seaman & Dennis R. Young (ed.), Handbook of Research on Nonprofit Economics and Management, chapter 19, pages 370-385, Edward Elgar Publishing.
    13. Daniel Hungerman & Mark Ottoni-Wilhelm, 2016. "What is the Price Elasticity of Charitable Giving? Toward a Reconciliation of Disparate Estimates," Artefactual Field Experiments 00557, The Field Experiments Website.
    14. Tigran Melkonyan & Zvi Safra & Sinong Ma, 2021. "Justice in an uncertain world: Evidence on donations to cancer research," Journal of Risk and Uncertainty, Springer, vol. 62(3), pages 281-311, June.
    15. Eiji Yamamura & Yoshiro Tsutsui & Fumio Ohtake, 2017. "Altruistic and selfish motivations of charitable giving:Case of the hometown tax donation system in Japan," ISER Discussion Paper 1003, Institute of Social and Economic Research, Osaka University.
    16. Asatryan, Zareh & Joulfaian, David, 2022. "Taxes and Business Philanthropy in Armenia," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 200(C), pages 914-930.
    17. Scharf, Kimberley & Tukiainen, Janne, 2015. "Does Market Size Matter Also for Charities?," CAGE Online Working Paper Series 226, Competitive Advantage in the Global Economy (CAGE).
    18. Wei Yang, 2016. "Are contributions of time and money substitutes or complements?," Applied Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 48(37), pages 3526-3537, August.
    19. Daniel M. Hungerman & Mark Ottoni-Wilhelm, 2021. "Impure Impact Giving: Theory and Evidence," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 129(5), pages 1553-1614.

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    charitable giving; tax subsidies; private provision of public goods;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • C99 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments - - - Other
    • D12 - Microeconomics - - Household Behavior - - - Consumer Economics: Empirical Analysis
    • D64 - Microeconomics - - Welfare Economics - - - Altruism; Philanthropy; Intergenerational Transfers
    • H24 - Public Economics - - Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue - - - Personal Income and Other Nonbusiness Taxes and Subsidies
    • H31 - Public Economics - - Fiscal Policies and Behavior of Economic Agents - - - Household
    • H41 - Public Economics - - Publicly Provided Goods - - - Public Goods

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