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More Giving or More Givers? The Effects of Tax Incentives on Charitable Donations in the UK

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  • Almunia, Miguel
  • Lockwood, Ben
  • Scharf, Kimberley

Abstract

This paper estimates the tax-price elasticity of giving using UK administrative tax return data, exploiting variation from a large tax reform. We estimate both the in- tensive and extensive-margin elasticity, using a novel instrumental variables strategy. Then, we derive new conditions to evaluate the welfare consequences of changes in the generosity of the subsidy to donations. We find a small intensive-margin elasticity of -0.2 and a substantial extensive-margin elasticity of -0.8, yielding a total elasticity of about -1. These estimates mask considerable heterogeneity: high-income individ- uals respond more on the intensive margin, while the extensive-margin response is stronger among low-income taxpayers.

Suggested Citation

  • Almunia, Miguel & Lockwood, Ben & Scharf, Kimberley, 2017. "More Giving or More Givers? The Effects of Tax Incentives on Charitable Donations in the UK," CEPR Discussion Papers 12191, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  • Handle: RePEc:cpr:ceprdp:12191
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Weber, Caroline E., 2014. "Toward obtaining a consistent estimate of the elasticity of taxable income using difference-in-differences," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 117(C), pages 90-103.
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    4. Emmanuel Saez & Joel Slemrod & Seth H. Giertz, 2012. "The Elasticity of Taxable Income with Respect to Marginal Tax Rates: A Critical Review," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 50(1), pages 3-50, March.
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    6. Roberts, Russell D, 1984. "A Positive Model of Private Charity and Public Transfers," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 92(1), pages 136-148, February.
    7. Rao, Nirupama, 2016. "Do tax credits stimulate R&D spending? The effect of the R&D tax credit in its first decade," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 140(C), pages 1-12.
    8. Bakija, Jon & Heim, Bradley T., 2011. "How Does Charitable Giving Respond to Incentives and Income? New Estimates From Panel Data," National Tax Journal, National Tax Association;National Tax Journal, vol. 64(2), pages 615-650, June.
    9. Gerald E. Auten & Holger Sieg & Charles T. Clotfelter, 2002. "Charitable Giving, Income, and Taxes: An Analysis of Panel Data," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 92(1), pages 371-382, March.
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    Cited by:

    1. Casarico, Alessandra & Tonin, Mirco, 2018. "Pay-What-You-Want to Support Independent Information: A Field Experiment on Motivation," IZA Discussion Papers 11366, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Donations; Tax policy; Tax Subsidies for Giving;

    JEL classification:

    • 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

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