DP12191 More Giving or More Givers? The Effects of Tax Incentives on Charitable Donations in the UK

Author(s): Miguel Almunia, Ben Lockwood, Kimberley Scharf
Publication Date: July 2017
Keyword(s): Donations, Tax policy, Tax Subsidies for Giving
JEL(s): D64, H24, H31
Programme Areas: Public Economics
Link to this Page: cepr.org/active/publications/discussion_papers/dp.php?dpno=12191

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.