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Cash by any other name? Evidence on labelling from the UK Winter Fuel Payment

Author

Listed:
  • Tim Beatty

    () (Institute for Fiscal Studies and University of Minnesota)

  • Laura Blow

    () (Institute for Fiscal Studies and University of Surrey)

  • Thomas Crossley

    () (Institute for Fiscal Studies and Institute for Fiscal Studies, University of Essex)

  • Cormac O'Dea

    () (Institute for Fiscal Studies)

Abstract

Standard economic theory implies that the labelling of cash transfers or cash-equivalents (e.g. child benefits, food stamps) should have no effect on spending patterns. The empirical literature to date does not contradict this proposition. We study the UK Winter Fuel Payment (WFP), a cash transfer to older households. Exploiting sharp eligibility criteria in a regression discontinuity design, we find robust evidence of a behavioural effect of the labelling. On average households spend 41% of the WFP on fuel. If the payment was treated as cash, we would expect households to spend approximately 3% of the payment on fuel.

Suggested Citation

  • Tim Beatty & Laura Blow & Thomas Crossley & Cormac O'Dea, 2011. "Cash by any other name? Evidence on labelling from the UK Winter Fuel Payment," IFS Working Papers W11/10, Institute for Fiscal Studies.
  • Handle: RePEc:ifs:ifsewp:11/10
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Angus Holford, 2015. "The labour supply effect of Education Maintenance Allowance and its implications for parental altruism," Review of Economics of the Household, Springer, vol. 13(3), pages 531-568, September.
    2. Flora Felso & Adriaan R. Soetevent, 2012. "How Consumers use Gift Certificates," Tinbergen Institute Discussion Papers 12-002/1, Tinbergen Institute, revised 27 Nov 2013.
    3. repec:spr:empeco:v:53:y:2017:i:2:d:10.1007_s00181-016-1134-0 is not listed on IDEAS
    4. Capacci, Sara & Mazzocchi, Mario & Shankar, Bhavani, 2012. "Evaluation With Inadequate Data: The Impact Of The French Vending Machine Ban," 2012 AAEA/EAAE Food Environment Symposium, May 30-31, Boston, MA 123198, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association.
    5. Timothy K.M. Beatty & Charlotte J. Tuttle, 2015. "Expenditure Response to Increases in In-Kind Transfers: Evidence from the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program," American Journal of Agricultural Economics, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association, pages 390-404.
    6. Felső, Flóra Á & Soetevent, Adriaan R., 2014. "Broad and narrow bracketing in gift certificate spending," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 66(C), pages 284-302.
    7. Waidler, Jennifer, 2016. "On the fungibility of public and private transfers: A mental accounting approach," MERIT Working Papers 060, United Nations University - Maastricht Economic and Social Research Institute on Innovation and Technology (MERIT).
    8. Crossley, Thomas F. & Zilio, Federico, 2017. "The health benefits of a targeted cash transfer: the UK Winter Fuel Payment," ISER Working Paper Series 2017-10, Institute for Social and Economic Research.
    9. Kooreman, Peter & Melenberg, Bertrand & Prast, Henriëtte M. & Vellekoop, Nathanaël, 2013. "Framing Effects in an Employee Savings Scheme: A Non-Parametric Analysis," IZA Discussion Papers 7154, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    10. Beatty, Timothy K.M. & Blow, Laura & Crossley, Thomas F. & O'Dea, Cormac, 2014. "Cash by any other name? Evidence on labeling from the UK Winter Fuel Payment," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, pages 86-96.
    11. Emmanuel Tumusiime & B. Wade Brorsen & Jeffrey D. Vitale, 2014. "Vertical integration in West Africa's cotton industry: are parastatals a second best solution?," Agricultural Economics, International Association of Agricultural Economists, vol. 45(S1), pages 129-143, November.
    12. repec:oup:apecpp:v:39:y:2017:i:3:p:516-532. is not listed on IDEAS
    13. Cruz, Marcio & Ziegelhofer, Zacharias, 2014. "Beyond the income effect : impacts of conditional cash transfer programs on private investments in human capital," Policy Research Working Paper Series 6867, The World Bank.
    14. Dolan, P. & Hallsworth, M. & Halpern, D. & King, D. & Metcalfe, R. & Vlaev, I., 2012. "Influencing behaviour: The mindspace way," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 33(1), pages 264-277.
    15. Valatin, Gregory & Moseley, Darren & Dandy, Norman, 2016. "Insights from behavioural economics for forest economics and environmental policy: Potential nudges to encourage woodland creation for climate change mitigation and adaptation?," Forest Policy and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 72(C), pages 27-36.
    16. Thomas Crossley & Federico Zilio, 2017. "The health benefits of a targeted cash transfer: the UK Winter Fuel Payment," IFS Working Papers W17/23, Institute for Fiscal Studies.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • D12 - Microeconomics - - Household Behavior - - - Consumer Economics: Empirical Analysis
    • H24 - Public Economics - - Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue - - - Personal Income and Other Nonbusiness Taxes and Subsidies

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