The price elasticity of charitable giving: does the form of tax relief matter?
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- Scharf, K. & Smith, S. Int Tax Public Finance (2015) 22: 330. doi:10.1007/s10797-014-9306-3
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We use a survey-based approach to compare the effects of alternative forms of tax relief on donations—a tax rebate for the donor and a matched payment to the charity. On accounting grounds these two are equivalent but, in line with earlier experimental studies, we find that charitable contributions are significantly more responsive to a match than to a rebate. The difference can largely be explained by the fact that a majority of donors do not adjust their nominal donations in response to a change in subsidy. We relate our findings to the growing literature on behavioural tax policy.