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New Evidence on Taxes and the Timing of Birth

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  • Sara LaLumia
  • James M. Sallee
  • Nicholas Turner

Abstract

This paper uses data from the universe of tax returns filed between 2001 and 2010 to test whether parents shift the timing of childbirth around the New Year to gain tax benefits. Filers have an incentive to shift births from early January into late December, through induction or cesarean delivery, because child-related tax benefits are not prorated. We find evidence of a positive, but very small, effect of tax incentives on birth timing. An additional $1000 of tax benefits increases the probability of a late-December birth by only about 1 percentage point. We argue that the response to tax incentives is small in part because of confusion about eligibility and delays in the issuance of Social Security Numbers for newborns, as well as a lack of control over medical procedures on the part of filers with the highest tax values. We also document a precise shifting of reported self-employment income in response to variation in incentives from the Earned Income Tax Credit due to childbirth. We estimate that this reporting response reduces federal revenue by hundreds of millions of dollars per year.

Suggested Citation

  • Sara LaLumia & James M. Sallee & Nicholas Turner, 2013. "New Evidence on Taxes and the Timing of Birth," NBER Working Papers 19283, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:19283
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    Cited by:

    1. Clarke, Damian & Oreffice, Sonia & Quintana-Domeque, Climent, 2016. "The Demand for Season of Birth," IZA Discussion Papers 10072, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    2. Huzeyfe Torun & Semih Tumen, 2017. "The empirical content of season-of-birth effects: An investigation with Turkish data," Demographic Research, Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research, Rostock, Germany, vol. 37(57), pages 1825-1860, December.
    3. Janice Compton & Lindsay M. Tedds, 2016. "Effects of the 2001 Extension of Paid Parental Leave Provisions on Birth Seasonality in Canada," Canadian Public Policy, University of Toronto Press, vol. 42(1), pages 65-82, March.
    4. Wael S. Moussa, 2017. "Closer to the Finish Line? Compulsory Attendance, Grade Attainment, and High School Graduation," Education Finance and Policy, MIT Press, vol. 12(1), pages 28-53, Winter.
    5. Bischof, T.; Schmid, C.P.R.;, "undated". "Consumer Price Sensitivity and Health Plan Choice in a Regulated Competition Setting," Health, Econometrics and Data Group (HEDG) Working Papers 17/16, HEDG, c/o Department of Economics, University of York.
    6. Sara LaLumia & James M. Sallee & Nicholas Turner, 2015. "New Evidence on Taxes and the Timing of Birth," American Economic Journal: Economic Policy, American Economic Association, vol. 7(2), pages 258-293, May.
    7. Joshua D. Gottlieb & Richard R. Townsend & Ting Xu, 2016. "Experimenting with Entrepreneurship: The Effect of Job-Protected Leave," NBER Working Papers 22446, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    8. Apostolova-Mihaylova, Maria & Yelowitz, Aaron, 2015. "Health Insurance, Fertility, and the Wantedness of Pregnancies: Evidence from Massachusetts," MPRA Paper 61237, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    9. Schulkind, Lisa & Shapiro, Teny Maghakian, 2014. "What a difference a day makes: Quantifying the effects of birth timing manipulation on infant health," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 33(C), pages 139-158.
    10. Jeffrey T. Denning, 2017. "Born Under a Lucky Star: Financial Aid, College Completion, Labor Supply, and Credit Constraints," Upjohn Working Papers and Journal Articles 17-267, W.E. Upjohn Institute for Employment Research.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • H24 - Public Economics - - Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue - - - Personal Income and Other Nonbusiness Taxes and Subsidies
    • H26 - Public Economics - - Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue - - - Tax Evasion and Avoidance
    • J13 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Fertility; Family Planning; Child Care; Children; Youth

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