International Tax and Public Finance

, Volume 22, Issue 2, pp 330–352

The price elasticity of charitable giving: does the form of tax relief matter?


DOI: 10.1007/s10797-014-9306-3

Cite this article as:
Scharf, K. & Smith, S. Int Tax Public Finance (2015) 22: 330. doi:10.1007/s10797-014-9306-3


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.


Charitable giving Tax incentives Match and rebate Salience 

JEL classification

H2 D0 D8 

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of EconomicsWarwick UniversityCoventry UK
  2. 2.CMPO and Department of EconomicsUniversity of BristolBristolUK

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