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Who Benefits from Tax-Advantaged Employee Benefits?: Evidence from University Parking

  • Michael D. Grubb
  • Paul Oyer

We use university parking permits to study how firms and employees split the value of employee benefit tax subsidies. Starting in 1998, the IRS allowed employees to pay for parking passes with pre-tax income. This subsidized the parking pass purchases of faculty and staff, but did not affect students. We show that the typical university raised its parking rates by 8-10% extra when it implemented a pre-tax payment system, but that this increase was the same for those affected by the tax change and those that were not affected. We conclude that university employees captured much of the new tax benefit, that faculty and staff that purchase permits benefited relative to those that do not purchase permits, and that students that purchase permits were made worse off relative to those that do not buy permits. We discuss what these results suggest about universities' objectives in setting their parking prices and about the demand for university parking.

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File URL: http://www.nber.org/papers/w14062.pdf
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Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 14062.

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Date of creation: Jun 2008
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Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:14062
Note: LE LS PE
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  1. Maria Arbatskaya & Kaushik Mukhopadhaya & Eric Rasmusen, 2007. "The Parking Lot Problem," Working Papers 2007-04, Indiana University, Kelley School of Business, Department of Business Economics and Public Policy.
  2. Raj Chetty & Adam Looney & Kory Kroft, 2009. "Salience and Taxation: Theory and Evidence," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 99(4), pages 1145-77, September.
  3. Poterba, James M, 1984. "Tax Subsidies to Owner-occupied Housing: An Asset-Market Approach," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 99(4), pages 729-52, November.
  4. Susin, Scott, 2002. "Rent vouchers and the price of low-income housing," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 83(1), pages 109-152, January.
  5. Anthony Marino & Jan Zabojnik, 2006. "A Rent Extraction View of Employee Discounts and Benefits," Working Papers 1108, Queen's University, Department of Economics.
  6. Raymond Fisman & Edward Miguel, 2007. "Corruption, Norms, and Legal Enforcement: Evidence from Diplomatic Parking Tickets," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 115(6), pages 1020-1048, December.
  7. Amy Finkelstein, 2009. "E-ZTAX: Tax Salience and Tax Rates," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 124(3), pages 969-1010, August.
  8. James Andreoni & A. Abigail Payne, 2003. "Do Government Grants to Private Charities Crowd Out Giving or Fund-raising?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 93(3), pages 792-812, June.
  9. Paul Oyer, 2005. "Salary or Benefits?," NBER Working Papers 11817, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  10. Goolsbee, Austan, 1998. "Does Government R&D Policy Mainly Benefit Scientists and Engineers?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 88(2), pages 298-302, May.
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