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How Does Charitable Giving Respond to Incentives and Income? New Estimates from Panel Data

We estimate the elasticity of charitable giving with respect to persistent and transitory price and income changes using a 1979-2006 panel of tax returns. Our estimation procedure allows for anticipation of and gradual adjustment to tax changes, controls for various potential sources of omitted variable bias via fixed effects and income-class specific year dummies, and allows for a flexible non-linear relationship between income and charitable giving. Our most convincing estimates are identified by differences in the time-paths of tax incentives across states, and suggest a persistent price elasticity in excess of one in absolute value. Classification-JEL: H24, H31, D12

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File URL: http://web.williams.edu/Economics/wp/BakijaHeimCharity.pdf
File Function: Full text, revised final version June 2011
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Paper provided by Department of Economics, Williams College in its series Department of Economics Working Papers with number 2008-01.

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Length: 46 pages
Date of creation: Jul 2008
Date of revision: Jun 2011
Publication status: published in National Tax Journal, June 2011, 64 (2, Part 2), 615–650
Handle: RePEc:wil:wileco:2008-01
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Web page: http://econ.williams.edu
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  1. Chetty, Nadarajan, 2012. "Bounds on Elasticities With Optimization Frictions: A Synthesis of Micro and Macro Evidence on Labor Supply," Scholarly Articles 9748524, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  2. Karlan, Dean & List, John, 2006. "Does Price Matter in Charitable Giving? Evidence from a Large-Scale Natural Field Experiment," Working Papers 13, Yale University, Department of Economics.
  3. Zoran Ivković & James Poterba & Scott Weisbenner, 2005. "Tax-Motivated Trading by Individual Investors," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 95(5), pages 1605-1630, December.
  4. Marianne Bertrand & Esther Duflo & Sendhil Mullainathan, 2002. "How Much Should We Trust Differences-in-Differences Estimates?," NBER Working Papers 8841, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. Barrett, Kevin S. & McGuirk, Anya M. & Steinberg, Richard S., 1997. "Further Evidence on the Dynamic Impact of Taxes on Charitable Giving," National Tax Journal, National Tax Association, vol. 50(2), pages 321-34, June.
  6. Raj Chetty & Adam Looney & Kory Kroft, 2009. "Salience and taxation: theory and evidence," Finance and Economics Discussion Series 2009-11, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
  7. Feldstein, Martin & Clotfelter, Charles, 1976. "Tax incentives and charitable contributions in the United States : A microeconometric analysis," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 5(1-2), pages 1-26.
  8. Jon Bakija, 2000. "Distinguishing Transitory and Permanent Price Elasticities of Charitable Giving with Pre-Announced Changes in Tax Law," Department of Economics Working Papers 2000-06, Department of Economics, Williams College.
  9. Jon Bakija & Robert McClelland, 2005. "Timing vs. Long-run Charitable Giving Behavior: Reconciling Divergent Approaches and Estimates," Department of Economics Working Papers 2005-08, Department of Economics, Williams College.
  10. Burman, Leonard E. & Clausing, Kimberly A. & O'Hare, John F., 1994. "Tax Reform and Realizations of Capital Gains in 1986," National Tax Journal, National Tax Association, vol. 47(1), pages 1-18, March.
  11. Ackerman, Deena & Auten, Gerald, 2011. "Tax Expenditures For Noncash Charitable Contributions," National Tax Journal, National Tax Association, vol. 64(2), pages 651-87, June.
  12. Mark E Schaffer, 2005. "XTIVREG2: Stata module to perform extended IV/2SLS, GMM and AC/HAC, LIML and k-class regression for panel data models," Statistical Software Components S456501, Boston College Department of Economics, revised 22 Feb 2015.
  13. Saez, Emmanuel, 2004. "The optimal treatment of tax expenditures," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 88(12), pages 2657-2684, December.
  14. Charles T. Clotfelter, 1985. "Federal Tax Policy and Charitable Giving," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number clot85-1.
  15. Auten, Gerald E. & Cilke, James M. & Randolph, William C., 1992. "The Effects of Tax Reform on Charitable Contributions," National Tax Journal, National Tax Association, vol. 45(3), pages 267-90, September.
  16. Jon Bakija & Bradley Heim, 2008. "How Does Charitable Giving Respond to Incentives and Income? Dynamic Panel Estimates Accounting for Predictable Changes in Taxation," NBER Working Papers 14237, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  17. Clotfelter, Charles T., 1985. "Federal Tax Policy and Charitable Giving," National Bureau of Economic Research Books, University of Chicago Press, edition 1, number 9780226110486.
  18. 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.
  19. Randolph, William C, 1995. "Dynamic Income, Progressive Taxes, and the Timing of Charitable Contributions," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 103(4), pages 709-38, August.
  20. Jon Bakija, 2006. "Documentation for a Comprehensive Historical U.S. Federal and State Income Tax Calculator Program," Department of Economics Working Papers 2006-02, Department of Economics, Williams College, revised Aug 2009.
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